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  • Dangers of 2 Officer Shifts

    I work for a small 20 man department which serves an approximate population of 11,000 residents. We are nearby a couple major cities. Our midnight shift (Midnight to 0800) consists of a Sergeant and a patrolman. I have documented numerous occurrences of serious Officer safety concerns over the past several months due to running 2 officers.

    I’m wondering what other departments of similar size are running for personnel on midnights? I am trying to make a case for a 3 officer minimum.

    I’m also looking for any studies that have been conducted regarding which hours are most dangerous for police. In my career, I believe a lot of assaults on officers occur on overnights.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to PM as well.

    Stay safe.

  • #2
    How do your shifts run? How many are on the other shifts? What shifts have the most activity and/or highest call load? You can certainly run 3 officers on mids with a 20 officer dept., but it will involve some schedule changes. You might also want to look at a 7P - 3A power shift.

    Comment


    • #3
      Three 8 hr shifts. Days can have as many as 4-5 patrolmen with usually 2 supervisors. Plus a school resource officer. Eves usually has 3-4.

      The call volume on mids is low, however, the calls we do get are usually drug/alcohol/domestic related. There has been some serious concerns which I have documented.

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      • #4
        I work in a department of similar size with a similar population. Our normal shifts are 4 total (1 sgt, 3 patrolmen), so it's not unusual with days off to run a 2-man shift during the week. Our minimums are 2 during the week and 3 on the weekends (until after 0400, when we drop down to a 2 minimum...don't ask).

        I'll be honest...staffing concerns on midnights aren't anything new for most of us who work them. Far too often, you're going to be fighting against the mindsets of administrators who believe that "nothing happens on midnights." The low call-load works against you, especially if you have someone making the decisions who is a "stats guy" and is obsessed with numbers. Get your documentation together, especially regarding incidents where you had low staffing numbers and got caught-up in something big...even better if you had to ask for assistance from a neighboring agency because you didn't have the bodies to handle the call-load! Present it as a liability issue (administrators fear liability like vampires fear holy water, garlic, and crosses) and document, document, document! Even if they refuse to change your manpower, that documentation has the potential to be used in the future (either to bring the case up again later or if someone gets hurt).

        You could also consider convincing one of your higher-ups to spend some time on midnights. The concern on that is that it might backfire on you of you have a slow night and just reinforce what they already think.
        "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
        -Friedrich Nietzsche

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        • #5
          Here comes Mr. Doom and Gloom.

          I don't know that studies are going to help you.

          Instead, you need to start looking at your agency's call load and start breaking it down literally by day, shift, hour and seriousness (risk) of calls for service.

          Only from there can you determine where your agency's personnel best need to be deployed within the limits of budgets and staffing. . .

          If you determine that your budget does not provide for sufficient personnel to meet demands for service, it's not a matter of saying we need more people. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to provide a solution as well.

          You will need to prepare both a staff study, professionally substantiating that need, along with a budget change proposal, both of which you chief will need to present to your City Council to get them to approve more funding for additional personnel.

          Now, that's a lot of hard work and probably something your never contemplated, (how do I do a staff study and budget change proposal?) but that's how the game is played in government. But before you do that, take a step back and look at your city's revenue stream (the amount of taxes they collect each year that pay to run the city). You say you are a small town of 11,000 people. I imagine the revenue stream is small. Find out what it costs to add another officer. Factor in salary, retirement, visible benefits (vacation, sick leave, health insurance, etc.) , invisible benefits (workers comp, unemployment. social security, state disability insurance, etc.) equipment, training costs.and hiring costs. Discretely inquire as to whether there is enough extra money in the city coffers to pay for such an expenditure for an additional officer. If not, you will be spinning your wheels.

          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

          Comment


          • #6
            Consider yourself lucky

            My COUNTY (about 600 square miles with 22,000 population) NORMALLY has 3 officers on duty after midnight. ONE city officer in each of the two major towns of around 4k each and ONE deputy for the rest of the county.
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you all for the replies.

              I know it could certainly be worse and I’m not trying to complain about my agency. But we absolutely have the manpower to have a 3rd Officer or at least an impact shift. Several serious safety issues have arisen over the past few months that have prompted me to look into this. If nothing else, at least I have each individual incident documented.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CharlieFox1630 View Post
                I work for a small 20 man department which serves an approximate population of 11,000 residents. We are nearby a couple major cities. Our midnight shift (Midnight to 0800) consists of a Sergeant and a patrolman. I have documented numerous occurrences of serious Officer safety concerns over the past several months due to running 2 officers.

                I’m wondering what other departments of similar size are running for personnel on midnights? I am trying to make a case for a 3 officer minimum.

                I’m also looking for any studies that have been conducted regarding which hours are most dangerous for police. In my career, I believe a lot of assaults on officers occur on overnights.

                Any info would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to PM as well.

                Stay safe.
                Your Agency is about the size of the City Police Service where I live (Weyburn Saskatchewan (SK) Canada), and your town is about the same population size as our city (yeah, in SK, you only have to be a municipality of 500 to incorporate as a town, or 5000 as a city).
                There is also an RCMP Detachment (think of a combination of FBI / DEA / ICE / Secret Service / US Marshalls + State Police + County Sheriff + Town or City PD with a sprinkling of INTERPOL) here which is not staffed / scheduled-for-patrolling 24 / 7 / 365.
                The Province of Saskatchewan (kind-of like a State, but not) is about 1.3 million population, with a lot of large sparsely-resident rural areas.
                The closest next municipalities with Police Services are:
                - Estevan, about 80+ kms (50_ miles) SE of us, about 13000 population, with:
                - - PS with about 24 members, and staffed / patrols 24 / 7 / 365;
                - - RCMP Detachment, again, does not patrol 24 / 7 / 365;
                - Milestone, about 60 kms (40ish miles) NW of here, pop about 700, with RCMP (as above);
                - Fillmore, about 60 kms N of here, pop about 500, with RCMP (ditto);
                - Regina, about 115 kms (65ish miles) NW of here, pop 150000, with:
                - - PS, staffing numbers unknown but they have LOTS, work 24 / 7;
                - - RCMP support Units in the city, often working with RPS, but most not;
                - - RCMP Training Academy in the city, but Training Staff and Cadets basically have NOTHING to do with real work;
                - - RCMP Detachment in a town JUST outside the city, again NOT 24 / 7.

                Weyburn PS has a Chief, D/Chief, 4 Sgts, 14 Constables (it is a rank in Canadian Policing), and several civilian support staff. They work 12 hour shifts, with 1 Sgt & 3 Csts uniformed per platoon. They have 1 plain-clothes Cst who works in a Joint Forces Operation out of their building with 1 plain-clothes RCMP (part of the RCMP Major Crimes out of Regina) & a Traffic Unit Cst (works with the Combined Traffic Services SK Unit, with RCMP Region Traffic Services from Weyburn, Estevan PD Traffic Unit, and SK Highway Patrol Officers).
                Weyburn PS has Dispatch / Communication Officer civilian staff 24 / 7, and also dispatch Weyburn Fire Services when WFS respond to calls.
                RCMP members have full Police Officer authority for criminal enforcement anywhere in Canada, non-criminal Provincial Statute (traffic, liquor, wildlife) enforcement authority in our 3 Arctic Territories and all Provinces other than Ontario and Quebec, and non-criminal Municipal By-law (traffic, noise, animal control) only in municipalities that they have a contract with to provide Municipal Policing Services.

                In Weyburn, and Estevan, the PS and RCMP do work together, but GENERALLY PD stays, and deals with stuff, within their city boundaries, and RCMP stays, and deals with stuff, outside of those boundaries.

                I retired 8+ years ago after 35+ years RCMP service, the last 17+ years posted here. I worked as a casual / p-t Dispatcher / Communication Officer for WPS for about 6 months immediately after I retired from the RCMP; they use the RCMP records management system, so that transition was smooth, but riding a desk and inputting other members' files onto the computer was not as much fun as I thought it would be!
                Last edited by PeteBroccolo; 01-29-2019, 08:53 AM. Reason: Some spelling corrections
                #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!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I cover 1800km of high crime Indian reservation with over 5000 people routinely solo. We are critically short staffed, only having 5 patrol officers and one lieutenant. We work 5 12hr shifts minimum every week. I love it when there are two officers on. Officer safety wise, it is VERY dangerous but there isn’t another option.

                  Necessity is the mother of invention. Get that proposal together and send it up. My agency is federal, so I can scream till I pass out, but it won’t matter.
                  US Army Veteran
                  The opinions expressed above are not those of any official capacity or agency. Fix yourself.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by darkhorse6 View Post
                    I cover 1800km of high crime Indian reservation with over 5000 people routinely solo. We are critically short staffed, only having 5 patrol officers and one lieutenant. We work 5 12hr shifts minimum every week. I love it when there are two officers on. Officer safety wise, it is VERY dangerous but there isn’t another option.
                    Necessity is the mother of invention. Get that proposal together and send it up. My agency is federal, so I can scream till I pass out, but it won’t matter.
                    5 grunts + 1 with scrambled eggs - is that per shift, or total?

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maskwacis, http://www.siafn.com/contact-us/our-nations/, and http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/detach/en/d/459 was where my son was posted from 2014 to 2018. I can not recall their staffing level, but they had 24 / 7 / 365 coverage, support units, and resident Peace Keepers. VERY violent and busy place.
                    #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!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PeteBroccolo View Post
                      5 grunts + 1 with scrambled eggs - is that per shift, or total?

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maskwacis, http://www.siafn.com/contact-us/our-nations/, and http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/detach/en/d/459 was where my son was posted from 2014 to 2018. I can not recall their staffing level, but they had 24 / 7 / 365 coverage, support units, and resident Peace Keepers. VERY violent and busy place.
                      5 total.
                      US Army Veteran
                      The opinions expressed above are not those of any official capacity or agency. Fix yourself.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Two man shifts are fairly commonplace within most of the ports of US Customs and Border Protection. Granted, we're a niche LE agency.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We're a bit bigger city dept with 45 sq miles and 120k population. Our Graves shift generally runs between 6-8 officers and a supervisor, depending on who's sick or on vacation. On most nights with reasonable call volume its fine. But when we have a busy night in the summertime it can get sporty. The benefit of being semi-urban is that we can get from place to place pretty quick when the sh*t hits the fan.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The last small city I worked for, only one officer per shift. We were luck if we had two. Our nearest back-up were other officers from similar size and staffed cities.

                            We handled every incident from start to finish. No investigators or detectives. The only time we called for a higher authority investigation was in the case of a homicide and the Chief had to be notified and he had to approve before the call for help could be made.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                              My COUNTY (about 600 square miles with 22,000 population) NORMALLY has 3 officers on duty after midnight. ONE city officer in each of the two major towns of around 4k each and ONE deputy for the rest of the county.
                              Makes me realise just how densely populated England is. The county I police is also around 600 square miles but has 1.2 million inhabitants - and we don't even have any major cities. We frequently run out of officers to attend calls on week-end nights; our neighbouring force was in the news last week when it managed to run out of officers on a Sunday morning.

                              I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

                              Comment

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