Tahlequah Daily Press

Z_CNHI News Service

January 25, 2014

Dealing with emergency detention

(Continued)

ENID, Okla. — Enid Police Department

Capt. Jack Morris said last year officers went on 188 EOD transports, an average of about 3.5 trips a week.

“It’s not uncommon for us to do six a week,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for us to do three in a day. It varies.”

Last year, officers for the department traveled 41,504 miles for EOD transports, with an average trip of about 220 miles. Officers spent about 3,008 hours on EODs, which includes time for evaluations, resulting in a “low average” of about $66,176 spent for officers’ wages.

“It takes two officers to go on those transports,” Morris said. “A lot of times we’re having to pay officers overtime.”

He said the department only is reimbursed for mileage on EOD transports at a rate of 55 cents a mile. Last year, the department received $23,034 for fuel. However, tracking mileage also requires work.

“We have to keep records of where we go and there are certain forms we turn in to get that reimbursement,” Morris said.

Another hurdle the department faces is meeting contract-required minimum staffing levels. Officers cannot be sent out on a transport until staffing levels are met.

“Obviously, we do it,” Morris said of the transports. “We want people to get help, but it is very taxing.”

Chief Brian O’Rourke said conducting EOD transports are an unexpected cost many departments face.

“This is an issue all across the state, where police and sheriff departments have to make these transports at great costs for overtime,” he said. “I have spoken with many chiefs about this issue and all have issues with the way that the statutes direct this to be handled. It is a huge drain on a budget, as it is unexpected emergency expenditures.”

O’Rourke said transports for his department often require paying overtime to officers.

“EOD transports, for the EPD, is an unfunded mandate by the state that requires us to transport persons in distress all across the state,” O’Rourke said. “We have to rely on calling back officers on their days off for those who have already worked their shift to accomplish the transport.”

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