In September, the Dublin City Council eliminated two patrol officers from the police department in order to meet 2011 budget shortfalls.

Since October, only five officers have been patrolling the streets and working to ensure the safety of citizens.

The situation got worse last month following the resignation of officer Chris Hill and injuries of two officers who fell during February's crippling ice storm. Though one officer quickly recovered, the other "is out indefinitely" with a severe knee injury, according to Police Chief Lannie Lee.

"The doctors have not released him to perform the duties of a police officer," Lee said.

The officer is still with the department, handling administrative responsibilities and is expected to undergo surgery later this month. Lee said his recovery could take two to six months.

Meanwhile, three officers were forced to cover the all patrol shifts for the remainder of February - and a significant amount of overtime was incurred.

During budget hearings leading up to the approval of the budget in September, Lee told the city council that eliminating patrol officers would create problems.

The problems Lee spoke of are currently unfolding - in the form of scheduling and overtime pay.

Lee said there are 168 hours in a week with four officers covering the beat, leaving the city unmanned for at least eight hours weekly.

"There are portions of the week that the city goes uncovered," City Manager Jerry Guillory added.

If one officer is injured, sick or uses personal time, uncovered hours widen significantly, thus increasing overtime pay.

Guillory estimates that the police department is currently 260 percent over the allocated funds for overtime pay, but said the resignation of Officer Hill helped out.

"We are able to use the funds that would have been used for his salary to fund the overtime pay in February," Guillory said.

Despite overtime being in the red, the police department as a whole is in the black, according to Guillory. At last report, the police department was 2.4 percent under budget, but five months remain in the current fiscal year.

"The bottom line is that overall the police department is underbudget, though some line items are over," said Guillory.