Working overtime comes with the territory for cops, but some are earning half of their income in overtime. Records show that more than 30 Tulsa police officers each made more than $20,000 in overtime last year.
A $65,000 salary, with $55,000 more in overtime, Tulsa police officers are earning incomes like this because of a lot of overtime.
"We want to protect the citizens of Tulsa. That's our goal," said Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley.
Ashley speaks for the department and is one of the officers making thousands in overtime. He said the department doesn't weigh who has more overtime when scheduling shifts.
He said when someone can't work there are officers waiting to be hired back. And any officer, even those with the most overtime, can pick up those hours.
"There's nothing that says, 'You've got too much overtime,'" Ashley said.
He said officers are working so much overtime because the department is short-staffed. The department has even pulled people from desk jobs to work in the field.
"We would love to have more officers," said Ashley.
You'd think the department could use overtime money to, instead, hire more officers, but Ashley said that's not the case. He said some officers who earn the most overtime are those with the most expertise, like one homicide detective who made $76,000 plus $42,000 in overtime.
"If it's one of my family members, or someone that's lost their life or been murdered, and the homicide unit is investigating, I want the one with the most experience," Ashley said.
Officers who work special events, like concerts or festivals, are among those with the most overtime. Ashley said they, too, shouldn't have their shifts replaced by someone from the burglary division, or fraud division, with much less overtime.
"I don't know, you know, mathematical wise, if you're saying, if you replace this dollars with that dollars, maybe goes to those sayings, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul," Ashley said.
Ashley does not think the amount of overtime will lessen until more officers are hired. Tulsa police just added 16 new officers, and are training 13 more. After that, there aren't any plans to add more officers.