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12 Hour Shifts Yes or No, Pros N Cons

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by BLACK Z, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. BLACK Z


    Nov 29, 2001
    Hi, We are currently on a 8 Hr shift, I Like the 8 Hour shift for a lot of reasons, I know alot of people on 12's Some Like them Some Don't, I Don' Like them just wondering what you guys thought since some of the guys in our Dept want to go to them and we will be voting soon.

    We are a busy Dept in the Summer and Slow in the Winter, I just know that time will either drag or you will be over loaded with work plus 12 on the desk will be rough.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  2. We tried them a couple of years back, but went back to 8.5 hour shifts. Most people did not care for them. In addition to the twelve hours, you have to factor in such issues as court and travel time.

    I noticed that the people who really liked them usually lived some distance from the station and did not make many criminal arrests.

  3. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    I think there are two keys to 12 hour shifts:

    1) You need to have a rotation that works. The "Pittman" schedule or a fixed 3/4 or 4/4 schedule would be my preference.;

    2) You need to have the right amount of call volume. If your department runs balls to the wall constantly, the longer shifts and potential to have paperwork OT will kill you. If your department is slow for long periods of time, the boredom will kill you.

    I have worked twelves in a three on / four off schedule for almost five years now. We are not a busy department by anybody's standards. When I was a supervisor and more involved in training, I loved it because I could get a few hours of office work in reviewing reports, doing research, developing training materials, etc. and still get several hours of patrol. Now that I'm a slick-sleeve again I find myself getting bored and watching the clock tick away more.
  4. I think it's a little easier for LE on the street than it is inside the fence. Time takes on a whole different dimension inside the halls of shame.

    That said, the time off is great. Fewer commutes to and from work as well. It seems to work better for young folks for some reason. Our Custody people work 12.25 shifts on the Panama Schedule, for the most part.
  5. Panzergrenadier1979

    Panzergrenadier1979 Keystone Cop

    Jan 16, 2009
    Central Pennsylvania
    I work 12s and I love them. I have so much time off that I feel like a part-timer. :supergrin:

    Coming into LE from having worked in the family business since I was 13, working a 12 hour shift is like getting to go home early every day.
  6. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    I like 8s for days and swings isn't too bad but graves sucks because you only get one full day off. 8s are also nice so that if you get off on time you have plenty of time to go to the gym, hang out with family, etc. 8s suck thought if you have a job where there is a ton of OT at the end of the day because going home time is during the busy time. When we were short a year ago the city wanted us to work 8s but I knew if we ended days at 3 and swings started at 3 we were going to get boned on days.

    I once worked 12s before I started at my PD. They sucked because I had at least a 30 minute commute to work. With traffic it was closer to an hour. I pretty much had no life when I worked. Time off was cool but like 8s your PD better have a good overlap. My wife is in nursing school and doing 12.5 hour shifts that turn into 13 hour shifts fast. Throw in a 1 to 1.25 hour commute and I see her for a less than 2 hours a day and most of that is with her getting ready for bed or work. Now she has a lot of time off but on those days she is working she is MIA.

    Right now at our PD we have a guy who is trying to pitch 11 hour shift where it works like the Pittman with 4on/4off, 3on/4off. The only difference is we have to work a couple of training days a year to make up the time. The theory is that we wil have 4 shifts in stead of our usual 3 on the 4/10 plan. It sounds okay but if the city understaffs the shift bridging days and swings it is going to suck to be days. 11 hour days will turn into 13 hour days fast since we go call to call to call days from 1100 on.
  7. mrsurfboard

    mrsurfboard The Anti-Glock

    May 23, 2010
    We've been on them for 5 years now. Time off is great, however it's a long shift. When we first started we worked steady shifts based on seniority and it wasn't bad, then a few junior sgts cried and the chief changed us to 6 week rotations. I basically hate them now, always tired and don't feel like doing anything when I'm at work. I would go back to 8.5 hour days in a heartbeat now. Funny how the bosses in their ivory towers making and changing schedules, never have to work them.
  8. Goldstar225

    Goldstar225 NRA member

    May 24, 2005
    Central Arkansas
    We went to 12's about 21 months ago. On the initial vote just slightly over half the people in patrol voted in favor of it. After six months another vote was taken with 75% in favor. The three day weekend every other week is nice. Court appearances in the middle of a two day night shift sucks.

    One big benefit is that everyone works together every day and as a team, have the days off together.
  9. razdog76

    razdog76 Heavy Mettle

    Sep 26, 2007
    Another factor is when the shifts start and stop. If you are working nights (1900-0700), and you need to file charges then waiting for 0800 to come sucks. If you are the early car and get off at 0600 it really sucks. Waiting around for court at 1000, and then having to report back at 1900 sucks. Trying to spend time with the family essentially means you will be taking a flight from New york to Hawaii every two days which did nothing positive for my health.

    Now that I am working days, I like it. If we go back to 8's, in order to see my kids I have to have weekends off, which means I will have to go to afternoons. Going to afternoons means I will only see my girlfriend (a teacher) when I am on vacation, or on a personal day.:steamed:

    Another issue that may become a factor is staffing. If your agency runs as short as we do, then if somebody needs to be ordered over then you will only be able to hold them for 4 hours... then what to do for the next 8 hours?
  10. packsaddle


    Jan 15, 2009
    All I have worked so far is the four 10's shift. I like the schedule.
  11. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005
    The only 12's I work are attached to 8's. 8's on midnights really screws you on days off (which we rarely get our two).

    At my first Dept, we worked four tens. I preferred it very much over the 5(+) 8(+)'s.
  12. MeefZah

    MeefZah Cover is Code 3

    Jan 2, 2008
    Lost Coast, Cali
    I'd about kill a mother ****er to get 12's, or even 10's. I'd save a fortune in gas money, not to mention the extra time off.
  13. 12 hours shifts are the best. Ive worked 12's, 10's, and 8's. 8's are horrible because you have to burn so much vacation time to get a few days off. The days you work you cant spend much time with the family but when you get 4 days off in a row without spending vacation its worth it to me.
  14. TSAX


    Jun 5, 2010
  15. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    I prefer 8's or maybe 10's if it was strictly four days a week. The reason for that is I have a life outside of work that demands attention in the evenings at least two days a week, sometimes more. I think if we went to 10's at four days a week it would help those out who have to drive a distance to get to work, but looking at it realistically, there is really no good way to change it all up to work everyone on a ten hour schedule, unless there is someone who is not dealing with the general public and not having to relieve anyone within the fence.
  16. actionshooter10

    actionshooter10 CLM

    Dec 29, 2006
    We work 12's on the Pittman schedule and I love it.

    We're also busy in the summer and slow in the winter but it's still worth it. Winter time is where all schools, vacations, ect are scheduled.

    We do get overloaded with paper at times but our admin is supportive and has no problem with us staying in the first or last 2 hours/shift and working paper as long as we answer our calls.

    It would suck without a supportive admin.
  17. We are on a 12 hour, 3 on/3 off, rotate days to nights and vice versa every four months (supposedly to keep us fresh and not stagnant to a particular time of day . . . ).

    I am not the biggest fan. Case in point: last Tuesday, had a huge caper at the 10th hour of the shift. By the time I was done with my part, I had worked 16 hours straight. Went home, had 9 hours off, slept 3 (have a family life) and came back to do DT training for three hours.

    The majority of patrol likes the 12s. But after 1800 and you are still dealing with a shytebird burglar, the fun meter is definitely not pegged and falling asleep on the way home is not fun.
  18. Anytime......and + 1 for the Pitman Schedule. Best chart I ever worked...
  19. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    Last department I worked for had the most awesome 10-hour setup EVER. Rotating days off which a lot of people don't like the idea of doing (if they've never done it before) but it benefited everyone. The 10-hour arrangement was set up into 8-day "weeks" that repeated every 56 days. Schedule went like this:

    (1) 5 days on, 3 days off (for four 8-day weeks)
    (2) 4 days on, 4 days off (for three 8-day weeks)
    (3) Repeat.

    So you are always guaranteed 3 regular days off, and quite often get 4 regular days off. You want 5 days off, just combine it with a 4-day weekend and you only have to burn 10 hours of vacation. Every officer in the entire department gets at least 1 full weekend off every month, sometimes more. Three overlapping patrol shifts (8a-5p, 4p-2a, 10p-8a) that cover the peak hours perfectly. If you have to hold over or come in early to cover a patrol shortage, it's only for HALF (5 hours) of the other shift - so you will never work more than 15 hours, unless it's a voluntary overtime detail.

    Best setup I've ever experienced, wish I still had it.