and Scheduling Personnel
Write a response to the following prompt:
- Identify the most favored and least
favored shift schedules in the U.S. for police personnel. Explain the
advantages and disadvantages of those three that
are the most prominent.
- Compare permanent shifts versus rotating shifts,
including advantages and drawbacks of both.
- What is the role of police unions in shift scheduling?
- What impact does shift work have on family members? Do
you think family should be considered in making decisions regarding which
shift an officer should be employed on? Why or why not
4 Discussion 1 Our discussion
our discussion first, then the students answers
Deploying and Scheduling Personnel
Identify the most favored and least favored shift schedules in the U.S.
for police personnel. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of those three
that are the most prominent.
Most favored schedule in the US is noted as the (5 -2 ) work schedule
which means that you work 8 hours a day for 5 days with 2 days off. This
schedule provides for a set schedule and having enough ‘down time’ to be able
to relax and sleep. The disadvantages with this schedule may only be that
if you want more time off it must be taken from annual or sick leave. The
general times for this schedule range around 6a-2p, 2p-10p, 10p-6a with
variations depending on the specific agencies. In some agencies, additional
schedules may be implemented if it is noticed that an increase in criminal
activity revolves around certain schedules, this is called overlapping and
would look as such, having an additional schedule in the evening that covers
the times around midnight when bars are closing (10p – 6a) might also have a
shift that came in from (7p – 3a) (Peak et al, 2010, p. 302).
Least favored schedule in the US is noted as the (4 -3 ) work
schedule which means that you work 10 hours a day for 4 days with 3 days off.
This schedule provides more days off but the work times are longer. Despite
some officers preferring this schedule, the percentage of those agencies that
currently use it is only 27.2% (Peak et al, 2010, p. 302).
Compare permanent shifts versus rotating, including advantages and
drawbacks of both.
Police agencies do not have the luxury of taking days off. Their
responsibility is to ensure and protect the public’s safety at all times of the
day and night. Accomplishing this responsibility forces every agency to
work both day and night, which for some can be a challenge. The human
body is designed with an ‘internal clock’ known as its circadian rhythm,
which tells us that day time is for being awake and night time is for
sleeping. This rhythm inherently conflicts with police work because if
you work a rotating shift you will have to work night time shifts on a regular
interval. As Peak et al (2010) tells us,
‘The majority of officer’s work rotating shifts or
at night, which means drowsiness and fatigue are a way of life. According to
one study, 90 percent of officers reported driving on duty while drowsy;
one-fourth said they had actually fallen asleep while at the wheel. This is
obviously a problem that cannot be ignored—particularly if an officer has shift
work sleep disorder (SWSD), and experiences problems falling asleep, staying
asleep, or waking up.’ (Peak et al, 2010, p. 304)
Because of the psychological and physiological effects that rotating shift
can have on someone, perhaps permanent shifts may be better, as, if you are
permanently on day shift (6-2, 7-3, 8-4) then you will have your relax and down
time during your body’s normal down time phase (evening – night). The main
advantage to rotating shift is that if officers want to experience their
environment at a different time of the day, to experience the variations of
activity, this would be a good way to do it.
The most basic advantage to permanent shift schedules are their simplicity.
There is no figuring out whose turn it is to switch shifts and officers do not
have to re-adjust their bodies sleep schedule on a regular basis. There is also
more ease of schedule court appearances and the scientific proof that officers
prefer permanent shifts over rotating (Peak et al, 2010, p. 305).
What is the role of police unions in shift scheduling?
No matter what shift schedule an agency uses there are laws and unions that
have a say in the decision making process of which type of schedule is used and
protecting the officers well – being to ensure their productivity while on
duty. As a way to ensure sufficient pay for law enforcement officers, the Fair
Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that was initiated in the 1930’s to protect
the rights and working conditions of employees in the private sector, brought
law enforcement under its umbrella in 1985 via congress. This forced
agencies to pay not time (hourly wage) and a half overtime, if officers worked
beyond 40 hours, but also a second overtime if the officer went past 43 hours
in a 7 day time frame, including K-9 units and equestrians (horses) (Peak et
al, 2010, p. 305/6). This protection, although subsequently deemed ‘a
nightmare’ by many agencies, protected officers from being forced to work
beyond reasonable hours, for basic pay. Police unions, in this process, protect
the police officers (human, canine & equestrian) and make sure that all
benefits are provided and reinforced during contract negotiations.
What impact does shift work have on family members? Do you think family
should be considered in making decisions regarding which shift an officer
should be employed on? Why or why not?
I take this question on a personal note. My father who is a retired Baltimore
City Police Detective Sergeant – Vice Squad spent his entire career working
rotating shifts (8-4, 4-12, 12-8). I saw him come and go at various times of
the day, I saw him sleep in the very early mornings after working all night and
I asked him one time, “how can you sleep with sunshine pouring through the
window?”, and he said to me “it’s not normal but it’s my job and there are days
when I can barely think while I’m going to work, but I do it and I don’t
complain because it was my decision to do this for my family”. Rotating shifts
are difficult for the officer and their family. The varying schedule messed
with their body, their brain, and yes their moods, which all affect their
family and relationships. My father’s rotating shift was for 28 days at a
time (1 month), and every 28 – days he changed his shift. The best shift for
him was day shift (8-4) it was the shift that felt most normal and helped his
mood and allowed us to spend time with him. The worst shift for him was
midnight (12-8) because he saw us for about 2 hours a day of which was evening
hours when us kids were usually otherwise occupied. Should families be
considered in making decisions regarding which shift an officer should be
employed on? Yes. An officer has family, even if it is just parents that
they talk to and relax with and when you take an officers physical and
psychological energy away from them, there is no communication, there is simply
a shell. Years after my father retired he said to me, “I missed you kids
growing up and I wish I could have worked a set schedule”.
Peak, K., Gaines, L. & Glensor, R. (2010). Police supervision and
management in an era of community policing (3rd ed.) Upper saddle, NJ: Pearson
Education, Inc. ISBN: 9780135154663
List the bad and good of the students discussion . I listed
our discussion, then the students list any referencs you use