The City of Kittitass, Washington, a small city with a population under 2,000 people located in central Washington state, has adopted a highly unique, yet increasingly popular schedule for its law enforcement officers. According to Police 1, Police Chief Aaron Nelson struggled with maintaining police coverage twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week for the small city with only four sworn officers (including himself). The solution was found in a recently renovated unused firehouse and a drastic change in the officer’s schedule.
The officers work out of the city’s former fire station, which conveniently enough is attached to police headquarters and city hall. The officers are relatively free to use their time while working as they see fit. The officers are not required to sleep or patrol during specific hours of their assigned work shift. They respond to calls when dispatched and patrol when the officers feel it is necessary. As a result, department officials claim that officers’ moral and the public perception of the department have improved drastically, while also seeing an increase in “proactive police work.”
According to the Police 1, Chief Nelson is meeting with other neighboring law enforcement agencies that are interested in also exploring this unique schedule as an option. There are obviously many interesting take-aways and follow-up questions from this type of story. However, for us firefighters, keep this one in mind the next time our brothers and sisters in blue give us a hard time about being able to sleep at while at work…
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