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Police K9 handlers file lawsuit over compensation

Updated November 25, 2020 - 8:04 am

Four police K-9 handlers have filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department and the state public employees retirement system, contending their compensation does not match the time it takes to care for and supervise the police service dogs.

Clark County District Court records show the lawsuit was filed by Metro police K-9 handlers Jeff Corbett, John Jenkins, Scott Murray and David Newton. The suit names the Public Employees’ Retirement System, the state of Nevada, Metro police, Clark County and city of Las Vegas as defendants.

The suit was filed Oct. 2. It says all the plaintiffs are employees of or retirees of Metro who worked as K-9 handlers for many years.

“K-9 handlers work more than the number of hours allotted per pay period to manage and care for PSDs (police service dogs,)” the lawsuit states. “Because canine pay is paid at a set number of hours regardless of time worked, it is a base wage and not overtime pay.”

The suit said the officers are assigned to manage and care for the dogs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but they are only paid for 10 or 15 hours per work pay period to handle the dogs. The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the state retirement system and Metro are liable in excess of $15,000 in unpaid pension contribution benefits for each handler. It also seeks unpaid overtime, additional compensation for assignment of what is known as differential pay, and several civil findings including breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

The lawsuit was filed by the law firm Christensen James & Martin. Metro attorney Nick Crosby recently filed a document seeking to have the litigation moved to U.S. District Court. The motion said the transfer was not opposed.

Further comment from Metro was not immediately available Wednesday morning.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.