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Tulsa Police Spent $216,000 On Overtime After Terence Crutcher Shooting

People hold signs at a "protest for justice" over the Sept. 16, 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher, sponsored by We the People Oklahoma. The rally took place in Tulsa on Sept. 20, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki
People hold signs at a "protest for justice" over the Sept. 16 shooting death of Terence Crutcher, sponsored by We the People Oklahoma. The rally took place in Tulsa on Sept. 20.

The Tulsa Police Department paid more than $216,000 in overtime in the immediate aftermath of the September 16 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer.

The expenses covered increased staffing of patrols for demonstrations, marches, the funeral and news conferences after Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher.

The Tulsa Police Department released the figures last week after an open records request from The Tulsa World, the newspaper’s Corey Jones reports:

Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish on Friday said there was a “brief period” in which field officers “doubled up” while responding to calls for service because of multiple threats made against officers. “I think it was extremely important for our department to respond the way we did,” Dalgleish said. “I think anyone can look at previous incidents across the country and the civil unrest that has followed and see the importance of transparency and established community relationships. “It was also important for the community and those organizing the demonstrations to respond the way they did. I repeatedly heard community leaders, demonstrators and the family of Mr. Crutcher urging peaceful demonstrations.”

More than $27,000 were paid the day Tulsa County district attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced first-degree manslaughter charges against Shelby, who's pleaded not guilty. Police paid just over $78,000 on the day of Crutcher's funeral and during at least two rallies.

Capt. Brett Bailey of the Special Operations Division said that day featured several events, as well as being the first weekend day the command post was activated. “The various events are not tracked separately but for staffing as a whole by day,” Bailey explained of the overtime breakdown, which he compiled.

The department says the expenses were necessary to ensure proper staffing of events after the shooting and still provide "core police services."

It wasn’t immediately available how much overtime pay was budgeted this cycle for the Police Department. City finance officials on Wednesday presented a document during a meeting that shows the Police Department is at 43 percent of its allotted overtime budget three months into the fiscal year, which began July 1. For some general perspective on how much TPD may spend on overtime in a year, the Tulsa World in 2014 analyzed overtime pay for the calendar year 2013. The newspaper identified $5.2 million in overtime expenses. Dalgleish said it certainly will be a challenge for the department to remain within its overtime budget this fiscal year, but significant incidents can quickly drive up overtime numbers. “Obviously we are looking forward to seeing some relief in the coming years as we add more officers via the Vision funding, but for now our officers are working additional shifts on overtime to ensure we are still providing quality service to our citizens,” Dalgleish said.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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