HOLLY SPRINGS, Ark. — Holly Springs Police Officers serve, protect and fight crime. But these former officers say, beyond the badge, they are fighting a battle of their own.
“Don’t take advantage of people trying to protect your life,” a former officer said.
Seven former officers are suing the city of Holly Springs.
They’re accusing the payroll clerks of altering time sheets to avoid paying overtime and retaliating against them when questioned about shorting them on their checks.
“I worked 147 hours, but I only got paid for 94 hours,” a former officer said.
We’ve changed these former officer’s voices, because they fear retaliation.
“We actually spoke up the first couple of times, and we were suspended,” the former officer said. “We are coming to you all and asking can you explain this to us.”
In April 2016, the fed up group of officers stopped asking questions and started making demands.
“We just want what’s ours. No more and no less. Just make it fair,” they said.
But it’s not the city’s first issue with paying officers.
Five years ago, there wasn’t enough money to give officers pay raises. So, the police chief dug into his own pocket to boost salaries.
“You are not getting overtime, you are not getting pay raises from your promotions , you are not getting sick leave and there is no holiday time,” they said.
Now these former officers say, even if you move up in ranks, you won’t get the raise you are promised.
“What if everyone were to go on strike and say ‘If you don’t want to pay us, we are not going to do our jobs,” asked the former officers.
WREG asked Holly Springs Mayor Kelvin Buck about the allegations against the city.
“Clearly there’s a misunderstanding,” Mayor Buck said.
He denied withholding overtime and not paying officer’s the wage they were promised as alleged in the lawsuit against the city.
“We understand the very serious role they play in our community. It’s an important role, so any allegation about retaliation would be just false,” he said.
But officers told us, since standing up for themselves, they’ve been picked on.
“There was an officer who was arrested after speaking up,” the former officer said. “That’s very embarrassing to have to face the public after such a humiliating situation has occurred and be wrongfully accused of something that didn’t happen.”
They say aside from that type of embarrassment, not being able to pay bills doesn’t help.
“Having to call your creditor and tell them you don’t have the money at the moment because your job is not correctly paying you is embarrassing,” they said.
For nearly two years, these former officers have been fighting for what they believe belongs to them.
They are hopeful each trip to court will bring the resolution they’ve waited on for so long.