LMPD patrol officers moving to 12-hour shifts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Changes are underway within the Louisville Metro Police Department. 

Last weekend, patrol officers began shifting to 12-hour days. 

"The transition has gone very smoothly," said LMPD Lt. Col. Kim Kraeszig. 

This is the second time officers' schedules have changed in less than a year. 

"We had a staffing study done and so our main focus is we want to put more officers on the street," Kraeszig explained. 

Police say the study results, which were released in 2015, showed 12-hour shifts or 8-hour shifts would be more effective than 10-hour shifts. That's what the officers were working. 

They moved to 8-hours and not everyone was happy about it. 

"It's basically, they would work six, 8-hour days before they would get two days off," Kraeszig said. 

She says more than 80 percent of Fraternal Order of Police members voted for the 12-hours shifts instead but that required a change in the law. 

In January, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad spoke in favor of a bill that allowed officers to work 12-hour shifts without costing taxpayers a million dollars in overtime.

"The studies that we have looked at, actually indicate that officers that work this shift have less fatigue, less stress, and use less sick leave," Conrad said to lawmakers. 

The bill passed and the change went into effect last month. LMPD leadership says 12-hour shifts will give officers more time off. 

"The good thing is, in a 30 day calendar month, the officers are off 15 days out of that month," Kraeszig told WDRB News. 

Police say it will also keep their presence in the community up, as the city faces an increase in violent crime. 

FOP President Dave Mutchler sent WDRB News this statement about the shift change: 

A large majority of our members voted to adopt this change to 12-hour shifts.  To do so required the FOP to work with the chief and his staff on an agreement and our FOP legislative committee to work tirelessly with members of the General Assembly to amend applicable labor laws.  Officers have only been working 12-hour days for a short period of time but the feedback I am receiving is that they are happy that this transition has finally occurred. 

The fact is that working an 8 hour day on a six days on – two days off rotating schedule is antiquated and not embraced by an overwhelming majority of members.  Absent working a 10-hour shift, most members feel that switching to a 12-hour shift gives them more days off to spend with their families and to engage in activities outside of the workplace.  No shift is ever perfect for every officer but I would say that the overwhelming majority of patrol officers believe that 12-hour shifts provide a better balance for them between on duty and off duty time and I believe this will have a positive effect on morale for most patrol officers.

Police say members of investigative units will still work 8-hour days. 

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