Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty confirms out of the more than 1,000 police officers working for the force, five are under criminal investigation.
"That number is high for us," said Chief Citty. "Normally it is like two or three. We wish it were zero."
The department said they have paid those officers the following while they have been on leave:
1. 08/02/10- $43,976.48
2. 08/16/10- $48,080.00
3. 09/21/10- $34,876.80
4. 01/19/11- $11,625.60
5. 03/08/11- $1,314.72
The total amount spent for all five officers totaled $139,873.60. These amounts do not include additional benefits like insurance, comp time or vacation time or incentive pay.
Two of those officers being investigated have actually been arrested.
Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Willie Williams, who is accused of falsifying his time card, has been charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor.
"Willie Williams was an abnormally lengthy investigation and we've had some of those in the past couple of years. In most cases, a criminal investigation will not take that long," said Chief Citty.
With all benefits including, the police department said Williams has been paid $55,772.60 since being placed on administrative leave.
Officer Maurice Martinez is accused of molesting a 16-year-old boy he adopted. The police department said Martinez has been paid $14,742.00, including all benefits, since being placed on administrative leave.
Police would not release the names of the other officers being investigated, or their complete paid leave amounts, stating it is in the hands of their internal affairs division.
And Monday, the department had to place six more officers on paid administrative leave after a suspect died while in police custody. But officers placed on administrative leave for procedural reasons are different than those being investigated specifically for allegations of wrongdoing.
Chief City said they are also planning on hiring additional people to their internal affairs department to keep up with the investigations.
Former Oklahoma City Police Chief M.T. Berry, who is currently the assistant City Manager for Oklahoma City, said the department has to follow proper protocol.
"It helps us to remove the employee from the workforce so that we can conduct a fair and impartial investigation into those rules violations or criminal violations if that's what it is," said Berry.
Berry said all city employees have due process rights and there are certain things the city has to do when bringing charges against officers, or any government employee. In addition to that the department also has labor contracts to contend with, as well as arbitration. All of which take time.
"We wish it could be quicker too but sometimes in order to gather the right amount of evidence and have a completed case, to determine whether an employee is guilty of misconduct or not guilty of misconduct it takes time to do that," Berry added.
As police chief, Berry was responsible for the planning, organizing and directing of all police services for the city, almost 1300 employees and a budget of $119.6 million.
The President of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police said all officers need to be considered innocent until proven guilty and have just cause established before they are terminated.