Mta Police canine officer and dog keep an eye while passengers steam by at the LIRR station at New York's Penn Station.(Craig Ruttle)

The MTA police force is raking it in with extra shifts.

The cash-strapped agency paid out $17.2 million in overtime last year to its officers, MTA records show, with nearly two-thirds of the force earning more than $100,000 when adding in the extra pay.

“What are they doing to earn that much?” said straphanger Jennifer McReynolds, 25, of Greenpoint.

MTA police officers, who patrol the commuter rails, the Staten Island Railway, Penn Station and Grand Central, were given a base salary of between $39,000 and $88,000 in 2009. However, an amNewYork review of their pay found that many greatly boost their earnings with overtime. Here are some of the findings:

- Sixteen officers made more than the department chief’s salary of $163,550.

- The top 10 earners made between $184,280 and $216,900, more than double their
salaries.

- Overtime for the top three earners jumped by more than $40,000 between 2007 and 2009.

“Those numbers look like the kind of salary Bloomberg would get,” said Sergei Krasikov, 31, a Brooklyn rider.

The MTA police stepped up its patrolling of trains and stations beginning in 2007, which required overtime, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. A multi-million dollar federal grant covered the bulk of the extra expense.

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“In order to ensure the safety and security of our customers, some overtime is necessary,” Ortiz said.

The MTA reduced police overtime by 7 percent between 2008 and 2009 as part of a larger effort to slash costs, Ortiz said, but raises for officers meant the overtime only dipped by about $200,000.

Nicholas Klopsis contributed to this story.

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Top five MTA police earners in 2009: (base pay and total compensation)
                           Base pay             Total compensation
John Wu              $87,156               $216,889
Pablo Hernandez  $87,156               $205,628
Richard Ciullo      $85,163               $203,370
Denis Gleeson      $84,167               $187,351
Winston Henvill    $85,163               $184,282
 
Source: MTA