Power Shifts in Law Enforcement
Many police departments both across the country and throughout the world have found themselves struggling with manpower resource issues. Having enough officers on call to effectively meet the needs of the community must always be the priority, but it is a priority that is often overlooked by those who delegate financial resources to these departments. Being tasked with performing a job more efficiently and still using the same levels of resources requires a creative and lateral approach. One such method for meeting this increased demand in law enforcement is the employment of call volume analysis and the subsequent changes in scheduling that the results suggest. In most cases, the solution is the addition of a "power shift."
The most common complaint from the public regarding policing is the amount of time required to have an officer respond to the scene when a call for service has been made (Center). Analysis of call for service trends shows a demonstrable peak in volume between the hours of 4 PM and midnight, particularly on weekends (Woolfenden 5). Having additional officers on duty during these higher volume hours, or "powershift" periods, means quicker response times, increased availability of back-up, and a greater ability to engage in other pertinent policing activities such as pro-active patrol and community policing initiatives (Woolfenden 6). Given these demands, there is a clear and consistent need for a powershift in modern policing. Although general scheduling adjustments can partially compensate for hourly fluctuations in call volume, this is not a complete solution. There are numerous other factors to consider such as weekends, special events, and holidays. The theory here for some would be to radically change the overall scheduling system to accommodate for these factors. This could be done to some extent through a transition to 12 hour shifts where more officers are on duty per given
Cited: Woolfenden, Sue Chief Inspector. "Planning for Effective Patrol." 15 Oct. 2005. http://www.popcenter.org/Library/Tilley/1999/99-43.pdf Metropolitan Police Department. 2003. 15 Oct. 2005 http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1239,q,545205.asp Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. 2005. 14 Oct. 2005