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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. JohnnyReb

    JohnnyReb Lifetime Member

    Sep 20, 2004
    We are looking into 12s at my jail, but I have some reservations about it. 12.5 hrs is a long time to be locked up with turds, and we don't have any kind of breaking system at my work. You are working from the second you step in, until you leave. I think it would get very mentally exhausting.

    The only 12hr shift im interested in is the pittman, and thats because you never work more then 3 days in a row, and you get a 3 day weekend every over week.

    Right now, our 8hr shift blows. We work 4 days, off two, 4 evenings, off two, then back to days, then evenings...every 3 months, there is one month of midnights. With this rotation, I see a "real weekend" every 6 weeks.

    Right now, I'd just love to have a permement shift. I don't care if its 5 on 2 off, with tuesday and wednesday off. At least I wouldnt roatate and I could plan things without trying to work it out on an calander every time I want to do something.

    I'm quite sick of the constant back and forth between shifts every week.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  2. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    x2, this is the dangerous side of 12-hour shifts for street cops too. Anyone willing to bet you are less alert and officer safety (including self safety) may be lacking around hour 11.5? I think 10-hour shifts are the perfect compromise.

    Gordon Graham (retired CHP, law enforcement risk management speaker, excellent guy) has said that CA agencies are big on 3x12's weekly schedules, but Graham has stats that show officers are more at risk working those longer hours. He proposes 14-hour shifts, 3 days a week. WHAT?! you might say, but wait there's more. During that 14 hours, you work 6... take a 2-hour break to refresh and recharge, for eating/workout/sleeping or whatever you want to do... then work another 6. You get 4 fixed days off every week. Not a bad idea, although I'm not sure if any departments have actually started doing that yet.

  3. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

    Good luck on 14s. Who has enough staffing and little enough activity that anyone can take two hours off in the middle of the shift? It's hard enough to get off on time at end of watch.
  4. JohnnyReb

    JohnnyReb Lifetime Member

    Sep 20, 2004
    +1 I can't see how that would work in the real world.
  5. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    The only way 14 hour shifts would work is if people came in every 2 hours, maybe every 6 hours. Basically individual officers, or shifts if your department is big enough, trickling in all day long.

    It could work but it would take a big change in mentality at the department from the top to bottom. Kind of how our fire guys went from 24 to 48 hour shifts and their management hated it and made the rank and file miserable.
  6. Reyn

    Reyn Times Up

    Jan 25, 2005
    I like 12s. The most you work is 3 days in a row and get every other weekend off. Plus the short week you can take two days off and be off a week.

    With 8s we had to work 6 on 2 off and didnt get a weekend but once every 6 weeks.
  7. txleapd

    txleapd Hook 'Em Up

    Aug 27, 2004
    Our patrol shifts are 10 hours, which I think are perfect. Every "weekend" is three days off, although if you work a late evening or night shift that 1st day off can be pretty rough.

    A buddy of mine, who I served in the Corps with, works 12's. They alternate working 3 on-4 off, and 4 on-3 off. I see the benefit as having plenty of time away from work, but the down side, IMHO, is that you are getting set up for some major fatigue on the days you are working.

    Even working 4/10's there are times when you get late calls 2 or 3 days in a row. More than once I remember the bottom falling out, and working 14-18 hour days in a row. I was "lucky" enough to be an AI, back when we also diagramed homicide and OIS scenes, and getting my butt handed to me because I was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep before I had to be back to work. I've worked 20 hour days more than once or twice.

    I could see 12 hour shifts increasing the frequency and possibility of this happening, and being completely useless due to exhaustion. I see that as a safety issue. Even driving can be dangerous at that point.

    Just my opinion, I could be wrong....
  8. I think 10-hour days are about the best of the best.
  9. boomhower


    Feb 14, 2010
    North Carolina
    We work 12's on the Pittman and I love the schedule but our rotation sucks. We rotate days to nights every set of days. I don't care to work days and I don't care to work night but I hate working both in the same week every week. Your body never gets adjusted and doesn't know whether your supposed to be asleep or awake. Hopefully it will get changed some day. Personally I would prefer rotating every two weeks.


    Jan 10, 2000
    Middle TN
    I've been on this system for about 6 years now and we like the 12s. The most you work is 3 days in a row and get every other weekend off. We rotated only once every year prior to this year and now we have started bidding for nights or days again because the senior officers were complaining.

    The short week you can take two days off and be off a week. We have one day out of the two week roll that we only work 8 hrs to maintain an 80 hr pay period. I take mine every Sunday of the week end shift week. You can also roll your four to the short two day week and take the two days off and only burn 20 hours. The good part part of this is we usually have a full crew on the week end we work.

    The up side to this is the Jr officers have a three day week end every other week not like my younger days when the only way you gat a week end off was to lay out and take the chewing for doing so. We never had supervisors work week ends prior to the 12's, now the whole crew works together and this I do believe is a better thing for the department.

    This job is hard enough on a family without a schedule where Daddy works every week end and maybe nights too. At least every other week end offsets nights a little, but both are about un-bearable on a young officer; I still remember..............
  11. razdog76

    razdog76 Heavy Mettle

    Sep 26, 2007
    I agree, regular days off and the crisis created when you have staffing issues, I think the tens are better.
  12. I wish we had them. Our dets, traffic and K-9 have them. But management says that the 12s are easier to schedule for.
  13. jedi573


    May 31, 2006
    We went to twelves here a few years back.

    Our schedule is two on, two off, three on (third day is a short day), two off, two on, three off.

    Every other weekend off; a repeating two-week schedule.

    We have four shifts staggered throughout the twenty-four hour block.

    The upside is that the most you work is three days in a row.

    The downside is that a twelve-hour shift really means a twelve-hour minimum. I'm stuck late almost every day that I work. It's really a thirteen- or fourteen-hour day.

    The downside is that any shift except day shift is rough on family life. If you have court during the day, working that night is dangerous as far as fatigue goes. Fatigue on its own is an issue without even having court. A robbery-in-progress after you've been working eleven hours is something to think about.

    Another upside is that, on one of the two weeks, you can get a week off by burning twenty-four hours of time.

    So really, depending on what schedule you pick within the eight-, ten-, or twelve-hour system, it's whether you get burned out more quickly by (a) more days of work in a row, or (b) more hours in a single day.

  14. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    That is the essence of what shift is best.
  15. volsbear

    volsbear IWannaBeSedated Lifetime Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    My brother works 7 straight days in a row, 12 hour shifts (days) and then has 7 straight days off in a row. Then he comes back and works 7 straight days in a row, 12 hour night shifts, and then has 7 straight days off again.
  16. We mainly work 11 and 12 hour shifts and I prefer them over my previous job which had 8 hour shifts. I like the extra days off and the fact I make the commute to work fewer times. We work 4 on 4 off.

    We have a permanent early day shift (Alpha shift) that works 0430-1545 (11 1/4 hours). The rest of us rotate through the remaining shifts. The first week we'll work bravo, followed by charlie, next week delta, next week echo, and then back to bravo. Start of shift is in our briefing room for a 15 minutes.

    Bravo 0645-1745 (11 hours)
    Charlie 1245-0045 (11 hours)
    Delta 1545-0345 (12 hours)
    Echo 1845-0545 (11 hours)

    We end up owing 32 hours a year which we make up with 4 training days (8 hour shifts) spread throughout the year. There is talk of making one more shift a 12 hour as well and then we wouldn't have to come in for days off to do training... it would be done on regular working days (likely during delta shifts because charlie and echo can cover the call load). The nice thing about having our overlapping shifts is it's pretty rare to get a late call. Even if you end up getting one, usually a later shift car will swing by and offer to take over the call.

    Our call signs are based on district, shift, and car number. Last week I was 2C11.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  17. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    Holy ****! Is that a cop shop or something else?

    If I had that I would tell my wife to move wherever she would be happiest living alone and then I would rent a room or shack in town during my week on. Then I would drive or fly to wherever she lived. One of our guys lives in UT and commutes weekly to work. Before that we had a guy do it to NV.
  18. I've never worked a placed that worked 12's, but to me, they make a lot of sense. The extra days off are especially nice. 8's are too short, IMO. If its busy or you really get into anything you're screwed and stuck over.

    I used to work at a place that had 8 hour shifts and a "step down" schedule. Without a doubt, its the most insanely idiotic system ever. After your two days off you return to work on a mid-0800. Next comes a 2000 to 0400, then 1600-2400 x2 (usually), and finally a 0800 to 1600 before your days off again. Now, lets add in the fact that your 8 hour shift was never 8 hours, court and the seemingly constant extra details. It made for a miserable, exhausted existance. Personally, I always though the amount of fatigue this schedule caused was dangerous. All the disadvantages of both 8 and 12 hour shifts with the benefits of neither.
  19. BPD


    Feb 9, 2002
    I work 8's....not by choice. However the way my rotation works, I have every other 4 day week end, which is very nice.

    10 on 4 off
    E/O Sat., Sun., Mon., and Tue., off.
  20. razdog76

    razdog76 Heavy Mettle

    Sep 26, 2007
    12's look great on paper, but as many have indicated it can be exhausting, especially if working nights.

    Commercial drivers can only drive for 11, and we must drive priority, deploy weapons, and make decisions necessitating a clear head. I think this would be much less exhausting if we could hang out at the station until called.:whistling: