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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229415 Find in a Library
Title: Economics of Patrol Scheduling Part 2
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:57  Issue:10  Dated:October 2009  Pages:74-79
Author(s): Patrick Solar
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 6
Type: Issue Overview; Technical Assistance
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This second part of a two-part article on the economics of patrol scheduling presents the 12-hour shift plan with a 3-day weekend every other week as the most effective shift plan and discusses some of the issues that must be addressed under this plan.
Abstract: Scheduling an 8-hour day on the Thursday preceding the long weekend, the department can control the additional 4 hours per day inherent in this shift plan. Dividing the patrol force among two shifts instead of three increases available personnel by 50 percent. This plan requires management personnel to make adjustments, which includes coming in early and staying late in order to perform routine communication needs. Based on officer behavior patterns under the 12-hour shift, it is likely that the majority of citizen complaints arise from the behavior of officers who are working their fifth or sixth day in a row. Although fatigue is not unique to the 12-hour shift plan, the change has brought the issue to the forefront. The main causes of fatigue are sleep loss and a disruption in circadian rhythm (physiological wake-sleep patterns). In turn, overtime and work-hour irregularity underlies these causes of fatigue. The shift plan itself is not necessarily a factor, and the good news is that these two causes can be administratively controlled. This article suggests how overtime can be minimized. Work-hour irregularity can be minimized by avoiding frequent disruptions to officers' shift schedules, both in the systematic rotation patterns and in scheduling officers to work on their days off. Further, the article advises that fatigue will vary by individual officers, so alternative shifts should be allowed for those who cannot adapt to the extended shift plan. Some options are suggested.
Main Term(s): Police work scheduling
Index Term(s): Cost effectiveness analysis; Fatigue; Police management; Police work attitudes
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