OCPD work long hours while short staffed; looking for officers - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

OCPD work long hours while short staffed; looking for officers

(wfie) (wfie)
OAKLAND CITY, IN (WFIE) -

Assistant Chief of Police Tim Gaines said at one point they had five full-time officers, plus a number of part time officers, and reserves. Gaines explained those were the good old days when you could take a weekend off.

"Not sure what a vacation is right now," said Gaines.

Now, the department is operating with only three full-time officers, who work overtime every day.

"Depending on what we catch close to the end of the shift so if you've got a 12-hour shift, then you get a run that's probably going to take you into over, over time," added Gaines.

Gaines said they're a small department and with that comes a small budget.

He explained just last month they lost a patrol officer to a bigger department.

Gaines said he believes the solution starts with pay raises.

Gaines said he's hoping the move into the Wilder Center will save them money that can be put into those raises. 

Oakland City Mayor Hugh Wirth said officers working those long hours can be dangerous.

"We're concerned with that amount of overtime for their safety and so we've looked at different options," Wirth said. "We haven't had a lot of applications." 

Wirth said they will offer contract work to police officers from other local departments, for $20 an hour.

"We're going to start with the Sheriff's department but any agency that is available," said Gaines. 

Wirth explained City Council will hold an executive session with the full council Tuesday night to discuss what options and incentives can be implemented to help fill the vacancies.

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