By Geena Martinez
ODESSA - They're called to protect and serve but the men and women of the Odessa Police Department could use a little back up.
Right now, OPD is short 30 officers. The department is filling in the holes by having officers cover different shifts.
"We're expending a significant amount of overtime," Chief Tim Burton said. "You can be assured that we're in a position to provide a level of service to ensure the safety of the citizens of Odessa."
It's a cycle Burton has seen before in the middle of a boom but he said getting new recruits isn't always the problem.
"Even once selected, it takes an extensive period of time to get those folks trained and certified and ready to go," Burton said.
However, the department is taking steps to get people on their force.
They've created a recruitment and retention committee and they're also offering a housing allowance to attract possible new cadets.
"Those folks who choose to accept those payments are then obligated to then pay back the money unless they remain with us for a five-year period following the completion of the training," Burton said.
People with past experience can get incentives too.
"If you were a ten-year veteran at another agency and you were interested in coming to work for us, you could apply to work for us and we will recognize those years of service on our pay scale as though you had worked for us," Burton said.
Current officers won't be left out. We're told a study is being done to see how the city can stay competitive in the workforce.