Jury: Louisville SWAT members not entitled to pay for on-call time

The officers who filed the lawsuit said they missed family gatherings and were unable to secure off-duty jobs due to the on-call rules


By Sarah Calams

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last week, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Erika Shields took the stand after members of her SWAT team filed a lawsuit demanding on-call payment dating back to 2002. The SWAT team was seeking millions of dollars of back pay, but a 12-member jury recently delivered a verdict that officers will not be awarded any money in the lawsuit.

The officers who filed the lawsuit said they missed family gatherings and were unable to secure off-duty jobs due to the on-call rules, WDRB.com reported. The rules, they said, meant they would have to be on-call for two weeks at a time and needed to be within 45 minutes of any call.

If officers answered a call, then they would receive payment. Otherwise, they did not receive payment during their on-call time. The team, according to WFPL.org, responded to 195 call-outs in 2015 and 132 in 2014.

“I’m sorry, but when you are waiting on a phone to ring, that is not work,” Shields said during her testimony. “I’ve never talked to a chief where they pay officers for being on call.”

Attorney Suzanne Michael, who was representing the city, said “on-call compensation was already outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between LMPD and the officers’ union,” according to the report.

The jury deliberated for four hours – ultimately delivering a verdict of no back pay for the officers.

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