Baltimore City officials say they’re starting a new crime fighting strategy Sunday that will reduce overtime and make patrol officers happy: a new schedule.
Commissioner Anthony Batts along with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Friday that patrol officers will begin working 10-hour shifts four days a week, with three days off. Typically, officers have worked five day, eight hour shifts. Batts called that schedule “stagnant.”
“We had three shifts; same amount of officers; no science behind it,” he said.
Batts says the new schedule will allow commanders to send officers to where they are needed the most based on service calls and overlap some schedules when necessary, making more officers available.
“As you can imagine, we’re a little busier on Friday nights in July than we are on Tuesday nights in January,” he said.
Under the old system, the city was required to pay overtime to put more officers on duty when they were needed. While testing the new schedule in November and December, police saw a 21 percent drop in overtime costs.
The commissioner also said that the new schedule allows sergeants, lieutenants and captains to get to know the neighborhoods and their residents better.
Gene Ryan, president of Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, said the new schedule will help improve the city and boost morale, allowing officers to spend more time with their families.
“Everybody knows a happy cop is a productive cop,” Ryan said, “and statistics have shown that law enforcement officers [that] have increased time with their families, [have] higher morale.”