Metro Jailer Arrested on Charges of Child Abuse

15-year Metro Veteran

Booked Thursday on Felony Charges

Suspended Without Pay

The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that Laurence C. Watterson, a jailer at the Clark County Detention Center has been charged in Henderson  with felony child abuse or neglect. Watterson, who was hired by the Metropolitan Police Department in 1998, was given a walk-through booking at the Henderson jail.


Metro officials stated the case was being investigated by Henderson police who have not commented in the investigation.

Watterson received $141,980.05 in total pay and benefits from taxpayers in 2011.


A Look Back — When Tossing Explosives Into Jail Cells was Just “A Bit Of a Lark”

One man’s…

“violation of the inmates’ civil rights

for ‘sadistic pleasure'”

is just another man’s…

“practical joke that went awry.”

In 2003 Metro Considered Tossing Live Explosives Into Inmate Cells “practical joke”

In 2003 Metro officers  Christopher Brinkley and Alan Hirjak thought it would be a blast to toss illegal fireworks (M-80s) into a jail cell shared by five inmates. while working as correction officers at the Clark County Detention Center.

Clark County Detention Center

The June, 2003 incident went unreported until two of the inmates Earl Atchley and Erick Watson filed complaints with the Citizen Review Board two month’s later. Atchley and Watson accused the two guards of endangering the welfare of prisoners, according to Review Board documents.

The department investigated the incident to determine if the officers tossed the M-80s into the inmates cell with the intention of maliciously causing bodily harm (a major violation of Dept. policy) or simply as “a bit of a lark,” as one Metro official described the incident at the time. Apparently torturing inmates for the officer’s own amusement was seen as a less serious infraction.

An internal affairs investigation lead to both officers being suspended without pay.  Hirjak, who was the senior officer with nearly a decade with Metro  was suspended for 160 hours, while Brinkley, who had just completed his rookie years was suspended for 120 hours.

Earlier this year, both officers were each ordered to pay the defendants $7,500  from their own pockets as part of settlement reached earlier this year in which Metro was on the hook for an additional $8,000.

Both officers are still working as Corrections Officers today and their careers do not seem to have been negatively affected by the incident.

Brinkley, who had just completed his first year with Metro, earned $43,802 at the time of the incident. As of last year his total compensation was  $120,255.23.

Hirjak had been with the department 9 years and earned $66,073 annually at the time of the incident was paid $142,085.97 in 2011.