Five years after the Los Angeles Police Department adopted a “3/12” schedule for most officers (working three days a week, 12 hours a day), the plan is popular with the rank-and-file, who credit it with boosting morale and allowing them to get more work done, reports the Los Angeles Times. A new city analysis found that police are slower responding to emergency calls and overtime costs have increased; other agencies that have tried the plan also have found that their officers are less rested and effective, especially at the end of very long shifts.
An officer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which dropped the 3/12 schedule in March, said it is hard for deputies to attend required training and make court appearances. Sometimes, deputies reported for duty exhausted from spending a day in court after a 12-hour shift. Seventy percent of Los Angeles police officers work a 3/12 shift, and most of the rest work four days a week, 10 hours a day. Officers on the 3/12 schedule work occasional extra shifts to raise their average weekly hours to 40. Police Chief William Bratton said, “It’s not a system I’m defending. It was here before I got here. It’s what I have to work with.”