It’s so far, so good for the city police force’s change to longer shifts.
Moving to the 12-hour schedule instead of the former 10-hour shifts appears to have led to increased efficiency, concludes Thunder Bay Police Service chief J.P. Levesque.
“There seems to be more time to do patrols and supervisors are telling me there is more time to supervise,” Levesque said after Tuesday’s police services board meeting.
The change has thus far successfully addressed the previous issue of leftover calls from the day shift having to be taken by the night shift. Eliminating that influx of calls has freed up time for the night shift officers.
More officers were also scheduled during the night shift under the 10-hour schedule due to a higher call volume, but the 12-hour system has allowed personnel to be more evenly distributed.
The adjustment remains a work-in-progress as administration has had frequent meetings with the police association to address potential tweaks to the system and find improvements.
While the officers are still working to acclimatize to the two days and two nights with one day off in between rotation, issues have been minimal. Most have centred around vacation and time-off scheduling.
“We knew heading in that it was a big change in how we were doing business and there would be some growing pains, and there were,” he said. “Other than that it’s been relatively smooth.”
Even though it is only a couple of weeks in the force is already seeing a reduction in overtime hours, a trend that Levesque hopes will continue throughout the year.
However, it will be a few months away before any sizeable impact can be discerned.
“We need to look at the summer months when we historically are much busier than this time of year. That will really tell the tale once we get into spring,” Levesque said.
There are 108 uniformed patrol, 32 communications centre and 16 records section workers that have adopted the 12-hour shifts.