Nevada court upholds troopers' free speech case

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A Nevada court has ruled the government cannot ban its employees from discussing their work, siding with three highway patrol troopers who were ordered to not to speak to outsiders about the K9 patrol program.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the troopers sued their department in 2012, claiming administrators sabotaged their K-9 drug-detection unit and retaliated against them after media reports of alleged illegal searches.

At the heart of the complaint was an email sent by highway patrol Major Kevin Tice on Feb. 24, 2011. In the message, Tice forbade "direct contact between K-9 handlers or line employees with ANY non-law enforcement entity or persons for the purpose of discussing the Nevada Highway Patrol K-9 program."

Troopers Matt Moonin, Donn Yarnall and Erik Lee challenged the email's constitutionality.

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