TPD Officers Being Taken Off Desk Duty To Patrol

Monday, August 28th 2017, 7:12 pm

The Tulsa Police Department has an officer shortage so they're taking some off desk duty and putting them back on patrol.

They said it's a short-term fix to a long-term problem.

The police department is short on officers and filling empty spots with overtime.

Now, officers with desk jobs are being rotated out into the field.

Officer Adam Ashley is on day two of a new shift, and he's one of the officers moving back to patrol.

"And I think for most of them it's like riding a bicycle, you just go back out and start helping people," Ashley said. 

The department has 80 officers who are not normally on the streets, but they'll all do two-week rotations on patrol.

Some of the officers haven't been in the field in years.

"And those who have been behind the desk for a while, they'll go through a little retraining process, get recertified on some things before they go out," Ashley said. 

The department is hiring and has 80 officers in the pipeline, but that's not enough to offset retirements and build up the ranks.

The department plans to fill gaps with the rotations and over time.

"It doesn't matter if it's in my beat or someone else's beat, that's where we're going," he said. 

The department is stretched thin enough that patrol officers struggle to keep up with 911 calls.

The new rotations will relieve some of the pressure and cut down on overtime.

"If there's still stuff going on in their shift and they're shorthanded so they're holding them over for 4 or 6 hours, so it's a safety issue and it's a morale issue," Ashley said. 

Detectives working homicide are exempt from the new rotations, but burglary and property room officers will be out in uniform again.

The department said the shortage could run through 2019.

The new rotations started Sunday, and each officer will have to work it about three or four times a year.