Sgt. PHil Reid
1. Could you please state the shift schedules of Police Department
What are the different options of work for a police officer? (e.g. What
time does a shift start and end? For how many days? How many days off?
With reference to what the shift schedule is for the officers, depends
on what section they are in.
- Patrol officers work 4 on and 4 off. 4 shifts of 12 hour per
shift. 2 days and 2 nights During the day they start at 0700 hours and
end at 1900 hours. During the night, officers start at 1900 hours and
end at 0700 hours. You will see that there is what we call a 24 hours
change over from days to nights.
- Plain cloths detectives may work a 10 hour day. This mean they
will work 4 on and 3 off. Some officers will work from Monday to
Thursday or some will work Tuesday to Friday.
- Traffic officers may work a 10 hour shift with a start time of
0600 hours. However there must be coverage in the evening and some may
work 1400 hours to 2400 hours.
However for the purpose of your assignment I will assume that you are
going to be concern with patrol.
2. How did the Police Department come to the decision of using such a
shift schedule? Was the decision based on the police budget? Or on
health reasons? Or on something else?
The decision to work 4 on and 4 off with respect to patrol came by way
of following other police departments and detachments. When our
department grew to a count where the number of officers could support
the 4 on and 4 off patrol shift, it was adopted. Why? Not because of
cost but because of life style. Police officers like their time off.
It had nothing to do with cost effectiveness. In the old days where
police officers work 5 on 2 off.....this was not popular at all.
Officers felt like they were working all the time. Our Union petition
the management of the department to go to the 4 on 4 off shift and it
was accepted approximately 8 years ago.
3. When was the last time the shift schedules have been changed? Why
was it changed into the present schedule?
Please refer to answer in question 2.
4. What negative effects of shift-work have been concretely seen in the
police officers in the Police Department, while working? Could you give
Working shift work causes fatigue and stress. For example if you are
working a night shift and you get a call at the end of the night.....say
around 0600 hours....just one hour before the end of the shift... you
can only imagine how hard it can be to function, make split second
decisions and to give your best when you are totally exhausted. The way
you handle a file at the beginning of a night shift may certainly differ
the way you handle a file at the end of the night. Files that you
handle like impaired driving, assault, murder etc may take you past your
end time which can cause undo stress for officers who need to get home
to child mind and other domestic duties.
It is hard to sleep when preparing to work for a night shift. Some
officer cannot sleep during the day prior to their first night shift.
This action causes extreme fatigue for the first night shift. After the
second night most officers may only sleep for a few hours because they
want to spend time with their families and other activities. The first
day off is usually a write off because it feel like jet lag. It may
take a whole day to recover from working nights.
Working shift work causes burn out. I have seen officers working patrol
for only a few years and then their career is over. They are
psychologically unable to handle any kind of police work after patrol.
One has to pace themselves while doing patrol.
5. What is the Police Department doing to minimize the negative effects
in the police officers, if anything?
The police department is working hard to hire more officers to reduce
the work load of officers. Having more officers to reduce the work load
reduces the stress associated to shift work.
Officers are given adjustment days to be taken at any time. Most
adjustments are taken on night shifts.
Healthy life styles are promoted and encourage by the department to
relieve stress associated to shift work. If one is healtier..one can be
more prepared to work the shift work.
The department has a gym for officers to work out. Being healthy to
relieve stress and or to handle stress.