Canine Cop Deserves No Overtime, Tinley Says

Tinley Park, Ill. (STMW) – A Tinley Park police officer seeking overtime pay for caring for a police dog between shifts is not entitled to the extra money because the contract with the police union covers the arrangement, the village says in response to a lawsuit filed by the officer.

The village is asking a judge to dismiss the suit.

The officer already receives a $2,000 stipend to care for his four-legged partner, Thor, per the collective bargaining agreement with the union, according to the response, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court and obtained Friday by the SouthtownStar.

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Tinley Park Police Officer Bob Diorio filed the lawsuit earlier this year, seeking overtime to care for the dog outside his regular 40-hour work week.

According to the village’s response, the contract with the union contains no provision to pay an officer overtime wages “when engaged in the care, feeding, boarding, grooming, transport and training of his service animal.” The response also cited other court cases in which canine officers were denied overtime because of previous stipend agreements and the difficulty in determining how much time they actually spend caring for the dog.

The U.S. Department of Labor has found that canine care and handling services performed by police officers, while compensable, is not compensable at the same rate as is paid for law enforcement duties, the village’s response states. It also states that Diorio does not allege the union contract is unreasonable, does not allege the stipend is the only compensation he receives for canine handling services, and does not allege he does not receive other non-monetary compensation or benefits for handling the dog.

Tinley Park Village Manager Scott Niehaus previously has said that Diorio is paid a salary of $83,096 and gets the $2,000 stipend for dog-related tasks while not on duty. Diorio was reimbursed $1,472 for food and supplies last year, Niehaus said.

Diorio’s attorney, David Stevens, did not immediately return a phone message Friday.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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  • mo

    Shame on you Mr. Police Officer! You’re already received a stipend to take care of your dog and you want more?! I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that would love to take care of your partner for FREE!

  • Roberta Waker

    I totally agree. If this police officer loves his dog, he should want to take care of him and the $2,000 stipend is a bonus to help out with expenses. If he doesn’t want the dog, send him to another Police Department who will be only too happy to have and care for him. What’s next, asking for overtime pay to care for your children when you’re off duty? Geez.

  • Gabe

    It’s bad enough these a–holes take the cars home, now this this ? Get a life officer not so friendly.

  • roro1234

    Gabe I couldn’t have said it any better. This a-hole gets to take a car home to transport this animal. What a pathetic POS he is!

  • John R Andrews

    As a former police K9 handler, I have first-hand knowledge that the FLSA has established a long precedent that a K9 officer must be compensated for off duty care of the police department’s service dog. If the officer has a valid case, then go for it. The law is the law.

    However, if the assertion of the village is correct and there is a contractual agreement in place that provides ANY AMOUNT of monetary labor compensation for off duty K9 maintenance duties, then this officer failed to properly research existing case law in this area and is “barking up the wrong tree.”

    If the officer doesn’t have a case, watch the department terminate its K9 program. Problem solved. I have seen this happen time and time again throughout the United States, especially in smaller police agencies with a single police service dog.

    Side Note: The take home car has nothing to do with benefits or compensation. That is a SOP for K9 officers, as the means to transport the police department’s “property” to and from the officer’s residence. Actually, a K9 officer is the only officer that is required to literally take their job home with them.

    With that said, public perception will play into this, especially in such a rough economy. Most people will have little sympathy for this issue, as they struggle to pay their own transportation costs to/from work.

    There is an old saying… pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.

    • Roberta Waker

      Thanks for enlightening us about K9 policies. It would really be a shame if the K9 program gets terminated because of this officer, but I’m sure there are other police departments that would take this dog in a heartbeat. If this officer doesn’t want to keep this dog, he should give him up to someone who does and is willing to care for him for reasons other than money.

  • Linda

    If this cop is all about money, the canine should definately be removed from his “care” because, obviously he does not care about the animial. A police canine is a very special dog and needs to be taken care of as such, their job is very dangerous and stressful, therefore they need top-notch loving care.

  • zatso

    I wish that the previous comments from the first time this article appeared were included with this posting.

    Many people are appalled at this officer’s conduct and as for giving the DOG to another officer, it doesn’t work that way.

    I”ll gladly donate plastic bags to Tinley Park for the removal of excrement caused by this officer’s action and his LAWYER’S petition.


  • zatso

    Anyone have further info on this story?

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