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Police FLSA overtime claims have resulted in recoveries for K-9 Officers, Detectives and Investigators, "Special Services" Officers, Rank and File Officers, and (in some cases) Command Officers.

Typical police overtime claims involve "off-the-clock" work. The following activities may be compensable when performed during "off-the-clock" time: Care and maintenance of police equipment (e.g., police dogs, vehicles, guns, uniforms), work performed before or after regular shifts, police-related paperwork and telephone calls, working through meal periods, training time (to the extent such hours are not included in regular pay).

Liquidated damages and attorneys' fees are available to police officers under the FLSA.

Some "Special Rules" for Police

K-9 Handlers. Police K-9 handlers have recovered substantial FLSA overtime for off-the-clock time spent feeding, exercising, training, grooming, and cleaning-up after police dogs. (Similar considerations may apply to other police "special services" officers.)

Detectives and Investigators. Most police detectives and investigators are "nonexempt" and therefore eligible for overtime under the FLSA. Detectives and Investigators may perform "off- the-clock" work including job-related telephone calls at home (e.g., with informants, prosecutors or other officers), police paperwork at home, going to meetings, work performed before and after regular shifts (e.g., "roll calls," or finishing up reports without "putting in" for overtime), working through meal periods.

Command Officers. Police command officers (sergeant and above) may be mistakenly classified as overtime "exempt." Some police command officers are "subject to" suspensions without pay for disciplinary violations, or are paid some form of "overtime" based on the hours they work. Either may raise a question about FLSA exempt status under the "salary basis test." Additionally, merely because officers have "rank" does not necessarily mean that they are FLSA overtime exempt under the "duties test."

The "7(k) Exemption." Police employers may establish "alternative work periods" for police officers. If properly set up, these may increase the FLSA overtime thresholds beyond the normal 40 hour week, which means that officers in such departments are not entitled to FLSA overtime until they have exceeded the "7(k)" thresholds.

Compensatory Time. Police employers may pay some FLSA overtime with "comp. time" instead of cash. Comp. time systems must be set up properly. Comp. time in lieu of cash for FLSA overtime must be paid at time and one-half. Employees must generally be permitted to "burn" comp. time when they want to; the employer may not generally prohibit employees from taking off accrued comp. time. Comp. time may be accumulated; there may not be a "use it or lose" it requirement. Police comp. time banks are "capped" at 480 hours; any additional FLSA overtime must be paid in cash. Police officers are entitled to "cash out" their comp. time when they leave the job.

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