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  • Police Officer Scheduling

    As far as I know, police officers generally work a 40 hour work week, 8 hour shifts at a time. To me, as a civilian looking at the profession from the outside, that seems like a very demanding schedule. I work with troubled youth and I'm exhausted after a work week. I can't imagine what it's like for officers in real danger.

    If you don't mind me asking, how do police officers deal with the stress that comes along with the position and with the scheduling? Do you tend to work the same shifts every week or are they different daily? Are there any departments out there that work shifts similar to fire or EMS, for example 12 hours on and 24 off?

  • #2
    Hey, it's actually not that bad. My department works 5 days on 2 days off followed by 5 days on 3 days off 8 hour and 35 min shifts. The extra 35 minutes translates into the 3rd day off every other week. And the days off rotate. Basically every 2-3 months, I swing through the weekends. Meaning that for the month of June for example, I'll have Friday/Saturday off, then Friday, Saturday, Sunday off, then Saturday Sunday off, then Saturday Sunday and Monday off. This will happen again in September and December as the days off rotate. When it comes to work, we do 8 hr 35 min shifts, but in reality we are probably out working the street for just over 6 of those hours. We have a 1 hr meal. We are authorized 2 twenty minute personals, and we return to the command to wrap up paperwork a half hour prior to the end of our shift. That's 2hrs and 10 minutes that are considered downtime. Out of 8hr 35min we work only 6hrs 25 min usually. It's actually a pretty good gig I think and I definitely handle it well and love my job.

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    • #3
      We work 12 hour shifts, either 6am-6pm or 6p-6a,switching every 8 weeks. We work the Panama Schedule, meaning I work Monday, Tues, off Weds, Thurs, work Fri, Sat, Sun. The next week we do the opp, meaning work only weds and thurs. It's the exact same shift as my old dept, and I even happen to work the same days, which is cool because my old shift mates and I like to hangout on our days off. When I first started my new dept, we did 8 hr shifts and our days off would move based on what shift we were on for that 8 weeks. It sucked, esp after never working more than 3 days in a row for the few years before.

      The city PD where I live is on the same sched as me, but they do 7-7. The county PD is weird and have 3 10hr shifts (630a-430p, 3p-1a, 9p-7a), plus a supplemental shift that's something like 1130a-930p and is 'set staffed' with the same senior people. They also have a k-9 per shift, plus traffic cars, and HEAT/ DUI units that usually work weds-sun. The regular patrol guys have rotating days off and usually work 4 on, 3 off. I've seen it written out and it's confusing. I do know they have to have 6 shifts to work that set up and have at least one over lapping day a month with double ppl on all shifts. I also know they make more per hour than me, but bring home less...
      Originally posted by Ceridwen
      Just one would be stingy of me, I'd have to get two. For the children.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BHammond1 View Post
        As far as I know, police officers generally work a 40 hour work week, 8 hour shifts at a time.
        If you assume that you would be sorely incorrect.

        There are 8 hour shifts, 10 hour shifts, & 12 hour shifts with multiple day off combinations.


        I know of no police departments that work a 24 on /48 off schedule(which is what most fire departments work). It is not practical for Law Enforcement.
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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        • #5
          To piggyback on what Iowa said, Fire gets to sleep during that 24 rotation, in fact they are at a fixed station with ALL or nearly ALL the comforts of home.

          Law Enforcemet is not afforded those luxuries. In my agency, we have an 8 hour, 10 hour, 12 hour, and a modified 10 hour shift. Imagine the toll on your body if you worked 24 hours straight without sleep on a regular basis or were constantly moving between day and night shifts.
          semper destravit

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          • #6
            We work 12s. The only thing that makes me mad is when I have to go to an ALR (Administrative Licensing Revocation) hearing (For DWI arrests). They start at 1000am (I get off at 0700am) and they're 30 miles on the other side of the department from where I live.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
              I know of no police departments that work a 24 on /48 off schedule(which is what most fire departments work). It is not practical for Law Enforcement.
              There is an agency in Wisconsin that does so... but it is a full-service public safety department. Ashwaubenon Dept. of Public Safety. Awesome department they are. They were 24 on, 48 off. The first 8 hours of your shift (assuming you're certified LE, FF, and EMS) is law enforcement, then the last 16 hours are run as fire/rescue. You follow that up with 2 glorious days off.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                We work 12's.

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                • #9
                  "Back in the day" I was kinda on 8 hour shifts, but most of my postings, until about 20 years ago, required my partners and me to be on-call during "quiet" hours. Further, there was NO compensation, other than pooch-assault on a "quiet" shift, for the on-call, unless we actually got a call, and even then, the boss would often hem and haw and bitch about having to pay the overtime. Most of my 8s would stretch to 10s, and again, the bitching and whining from some bosses sometimes about that OT coming directly from his mouldy wallet. When I finally got called to "the dark side", or Traffic Services, I no longer had to worry about on-call, and my shifts went to 10s, which stretched to 12s, but the bosses were much better about the OT, as long as I was bringing in impaired drivers and towing their vehicles. I was at one place 1977 to 1980 where we had 'round-the-clock coverage, 08:00 Wed to 16:00 Mon off every 4th week, and I almost did not know what to do with myself when that first long stretch came up.

                  As far as dealing with the stress, I started off working with the old f a r t s that came from the time of, "Work hard, play hard", and that was usually in the form of 24s or 40 pounders plus smokes and cards. Thankfully that has changed, and gals and guys were much more into the gym and family as I rode off into the sunset.
                  #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                  Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                  RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                  Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                  "Smile" - no!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Guams View Post
                    There is an agency in Wisconsin that does so... but it is a full-service public safety department. Ashwaubenon Dept. of Public Safety. Awesome department they are. They were 24 on, 48 off. The first 8 hours of your shift (assuming you're certified LE, FF, and EMS) is law enforcement, then the last 16 hours are run as fire/rescue. You follow that up with 2 glorious days off.
                    That is a different mater then..............it isn't a "police department" Yea I know terminology. BUT they are a fire/rescue/police department.

                    I did that in my one assignment where I was on duty 8 hrs and on call 16 hours for a 48 hr period.---I was working as a paramedic/deputy at the time. There were 2 of us on the assignment.
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                    • #11
                      Schedules are many and varied. The important thing to me is to have an outside interest or hobby. I've seen men and women "married" to this job, and they discover sooner or later, that the job is a poor spouse. There is a major difference between being dedicated to the job, and being married to it. Again, the hobby(s). A hobby can be almost anything. Gardening, travel, hunting, fishing, or simply reading a good book. It's imperative to simply "forget" this job at times. You'll owe that to your family, to yourself, and believe it or not, to the people you work with. Just my .02.

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                      • #12
                        I work 5 8hr shifts in 4 days. 0600-1400 my first 3 days and 0600 - 2200 on my last day, I then get 3 glorious days off
                        Today's Quote:

                        "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                        Albert Einstein

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                        • #13
                          I work 12 hour days, every day for 2 weeks straight. I'm on call for any emergencies 24/7.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jakflak View Post
                            I work 12 hour days, every day for 2 weeks straight. I'm on call for any emergencies 24/7.
                            Throws a monkey wrench into those eight hour shifts, doesn't it?

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                            • #15
                              I have been on 12's for the last 3yrs, We would work 3 on 4 off, 4 off 3 on....It was good I would end up have 6days off in a row at some point..It was nice. That was a 6am-6pm dayshift, our night guys worked 6pm-6am.

                              I just went to 10's still on dayshift and they are great, I work 6am-4pm. I like it but the off time sucks. Going from being off 4-6 days in a row to only having 2 days off has sucked but it will do. But getting home at 4 has its rewards. Because with my agency, I dont have role call anymore I go in-service at 6am when im getting in my takehome ride and i pull in the driveway at 4pm and go out of service. Love it.

                              Prior to all of that I worked Dayshift with my old sheriffs dept 7-3 Tues- Sat. Only had Sun/Mon off.

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