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City to hire expert to determine appropriate size of police force


RE: City to hire expert to determine appropriate size of police...

April 28th, 2014 @ 3:20PM (10 years ago)

They should read Police Chief magazine or hire someone to do it for them, assuming they are not browsing this forum of highly esteemed experts.

The Findings

At the end of six months, the Police Foundation completed an analysis of the three shift schedules. The findings suggested that 10-hour shifts offered advantages over 8-hour shifts, but these benefits did not necessarily extend to the 12-hour shifts; in fact, there were potential risks associated with 12-hour shifts. The results that follow indicate statistically significant findings from the research.

Benefits of 10-hour shifts over 8-hour shifts

Increased sleep (more than 30 minutes more per 24-hour period)

Improved quality of work life (based on satisfaction, commitment, and involvement)

Considerably reduced overtime hours (those on 8-hour shifts worked five times as much overtime as those on 10-hour shifts)

Effects of 12-hour shifts

No improvement in sleep compared to workers on 8-hour shifts

No overall improvement in quality of life compared to those on 8-hour shifts

Reduced overtime hours (those on 8-hour shifts worked three times as much overtime as those on 12-hour shifts)

Higher rate of subjectively reported fatigue or sleepiness compared to those on 8-hour shifts (fatigue researchers argue that people tend to underestimate their fatigue levels19)

Reduced levels of alertness compared to those on 8-hour shifts

Failure to substantiate many past claims

Sick leave was not significantly different across the three shift lengths

A comprehensive index of stress did not reflect differences across shift lengths

Performance (via simulations) was not significantly different across shift lengths

Self-initiated police activities did not vary significantly as a function of shift length

Regardless of flaws or limitations with past studies, some of the findings from this scientifically rigorous experimental research are consistent with some past research and conjecture regarding compressed schedules in policing and other industries. For example, Captain Sundermeier concluded that in the Lincoln Police Department study, fatigue was a factor for officers but not to the degree that it affected job performance. Indeed, this same finding was confirmed in this experiment. The fact that 75 percent of officers on 12-hour shifts in Lincoln reported being somewhat tired after the end of a shift indicates the need for concern regarding longer shifts, especially in light of the assertion that people tend to underestimate their levels of fatigue. Indeed, it could be argued that such underestimations may be greater in occupations requiring a degree of toughness and invulnerability, including policing. Based on self-reported fatigue, those on 12-hour shifts in this experiment were significantly sleepier than those on 8- or 10-hour shifts—something that should also be reason for concern. Yet in Lincoln, 100 percent of those working 12-hour shifts wanted to continue doing so. This certainly underscores the fact that what officers want, while important, may not be in the best interest of the officers or the public they serve. However, it is important to note that at least in this study, no decreases in performance accompanied this lowered level of alertness, although it does raise concerns about the activities of officers after the 12-hour shift (for example, while driving home from the job).