By Tim Ryan

OAKLAND (KCBS)— The staffing shortages on Oakland’s police department, which have lead to mandatory overtime, will continue for at least another year according to the police officers union.  There is growing criticism that the over-worked officers will compromise public safety.

There are currently 658 officers on the force, but police also reported 262 shifts are open each week that must be filled by overtime.

“[They’re] burning out these officers and they’re working an inordinate amount of hours. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight,” said Sgt. Barry Donelan with the police officers union.

It’ll be at least next March before the department can end the practice of massive and mandatory overtime for the officers, according to Donelan.

Some said the cost of overtime is ballooning. The overtime issue is scheduled for review on Tuesday with City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan asking for a greater effort to fill vacant positions.

“Our police officers, like any other human being, have a hard time working effectively when they’re expected to work double shifts and extra hours over and over again. Ultimately it undermines the public safety of the City of Oakland,” she said.

Kaplan added that while the police academy is adding cops to the streets that the department loses five cops each month— mostly to retirements and resignations.

“The mandatory overtime has helped increase that attrition and has been a constant bane on these officers over the last two years,” Donelan said.



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