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State and Federal Agents Probe Police Dog Unit

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The Police Department's K9 Unit is being investigated by both state and federal agents over separate matters.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is looking into allegations that private donations to the Police Women's Auxiliary for protective vests and other equipment for the six police dogs may have been spent inappropriately.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has informed the Police Department and the city that it wants to investigate hours worked and wages paid to the department's six canine officers over the past two years.

Public Safety Commissioner David Zahn said Thursday that the women's auxiliary, a private association of police spouses, asked Police Chief Mike Klappholz for help in the matter questions over the protective vests.

Klappholz called in the DCI, Assistant DCI Director Steve Conlin said Thursday.

Conlin said he has assigned an agent to look into "financial aspects" related to the auxiliary.

Money was solicited in the name of the auxiliary last summer after one of department's dogs was injured on duty by a pit bull. At the time, the auxiliary said it had raised about $3,000 for protective vests for the dogs.

Judy Perkins, the city's chief labor negotiator, said she assumes one of the six officers asked for the federal review of overtime matters.

Federal investigators told the city they would be in town April 18.

Perkins and Commissioner Zahn said the city and the canine officers have discussed hours and pay in the past.

Zahn said Thursday that the canine officers have sought more compensation for time they spend training their dogs.

Most police officers in the 200-member Cedar Rapids force work three 12-hour shifts a week, plus 13 additional eight-hour days without any holidays during the year.

The canine officers work three 10 1/2-hour days a week, with an extra 90 minutes a workday devoted to the care of the dog each works with.

The dogs live with the officers.

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