|A federal judge ruled this week that Los Angeles Police Department officers should be paid for the time it takes them to put on and take off their uniforms and safety equipment, a decision that could cost the city millions of dollars in back pay and higher salaries. |
In a 39-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess found that the several minutes it takes an officer to dress for duty is a vital part of the job because "police uniforms convey and legitimize officers' authority, increase officer safety, and help deter crime."
The dress time, which is generally thought to be between five and 15 minutes on each end of a shift, Feess decided, falls under the compensation rules of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, a long-standing law that requires employers to pay their employees for all hours worked.
I didn't post this to bring out the 'police haters' but only to highlight that the ruling is correct. It does take time to get that 35 pounds of equipment on, and to make sure it all works. Some can do it quickly, some slowly - but all of it is important because your equipment may save your life, or a citizens' life.
Granted this case may seem like nitpicking, but the police are so used to being demonized, it is refreshing to see a court case that takes the police side of the equation as valid.