In an effort to reduce overtime while keeping “more officers on the streets” the Little Rock, Arkansas, Police Department is changing to 12-hour shifts. Currently, Little Rock officers work approximately twenty 8-hour shifts per month. Under the new schedule which will be implemented on Jan. 1, officers will only work fourteen 12-hour shifts per month. The officers’ scheduled hours will remain at 80 hours every two weeks; however, individual shifts will be extended by 4 hours. The move is expected to save the city significant amounts of money by reducing overtime costs.
Twelve hour shifts are not new for many Little Rock officers. Since this past August the city has required 45 officers each day work 4-hours of mandatory overtime in “high-crime areas.” The city reports while crime is down because of the extra patrols; overtime is up. In fact, as of the middle of October, the city’s police department had already exhausted its $2 million overtime budget for the year. The 4-hour mandatory overtime shifts cost approximately $10,000 per day.
Little Rock is not the first city to look at a 12-hour shift model for police officers. City officials cite law enforcement agencies in Michigan, California, Utah, Kentucky, and Maryland that have also moved to a 12-hour shift model to reduce costs while preserving public safety. Whether the city will see the desired reduction in overtime is still unknown.