Las Vegas Review-Journal

Metro supervisor­s start getting standby pay for being on call

- By Sabrina Schnur

High-ranking Las Vegas police officers started receiving standby benefits last month after more than two years of union negotiatio­ns.

The Las Vegas Police Managers and Supervisor­s Associatio­n confirmed that officers required to work standby now receive 10 hours of vacation time for every 300 hours of on-call work. The union

represents sergeants, lieutenant­s and captains.

“There wasn’t a standby or readiness pay before,” said Lt. Jessie Wiggins, union chairman. “In many cases you had to take two cars or take a taxi if your family rode with you. You were required to come back in. Now, there’s a little more benefit to being on standby.”

The policy will affect police supervisor­s assigned to homicide, SWAT, child abuse and traffic, among other investigat­ive sections.

Metropolit­an Police Department traffic bureau Capt. Dan Bledsoe is called to every fatal crash in the department’s jurisdicti­on. As of Aug. 27, Metro reported 85 fatal crashes this year. Until a recent schedule change, Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer responded to every homicide, which in 2020 meant about 150 investigat­ions.

Spencer earned more than $70,000 in overtime pay last year, according to public payroll data, but the union said he was only paid if he was called to a scene.

“Members are sitting around waiting for the phone to go off,” Wiggins said. “That sitting around waiting and standing by means something.”

The new compensati­on would grant Spencer about 22 new vacation days annually if he was never called out and remained on standby every day of the year. The department will compensate officers for any time not taken by October 2022.

Union vice chairman Troyce Krumme, who served as a sergeant in the child abuse section for four years, recalled out-of-state birthday parties he has missed and the night of his first Garth Brooks concert.

“Halfway through Garth’s set, the phone rang,” he said. “There was an incident at Sunrise Hospital that required a response. I left my wife at the Garth Brooks concert. She had to find a friend and get a ride home. That’s the part of the job the family feels, and families put up with a lot being married to a cop.”

‘War on overtime’

According to a newsletter from the Las Vegas Police Protective Associatio­n, which represents police and correction­s officers, Metro recently instituted new limits on overtime hours for police officers. The policy caps overtime at a 16-hour day.

The associatio­n’s treasurer, correction­s officer Daniel Coyne, referred to the new regulation­s as Metro’s “war on overtime.”

“If you are someone who likes to spend your weekends keeping the community safe by working overtime, then you should be concerned,” Coyne wrote. “The Department has declared war on its hardest-working employees, slashing the number of shifts and hours that you can work.”

Coyne said the union is fighting the new policy.

An attorney representi­ng the Metropolit­an Police Department could not be reached for comment.

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