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Thousands of police officers are calling in sick every day in Puerto Rico to press demands for unpaid overtime pay related to hurricane recovery efforts.

The increase in absences recently prompted Puerto Rico Police Chief Michelle Hernandez to recommend that U.S. National Guard soldiers help fill the temporary vacancies.

However, the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rossello on Wednesday rejected the idea of using the National Guard.

Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario told the Associated Press the government has already made nearly $15 million in overtime payments since Hurricane Maria hit more than three months ago and $6.4 million more will be distributed Saturday.

It's estimated the officers are owed another $35 million in back overtime pay.

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