Huntsville Police change shift length for officers' safety

The new shift hours will begin in January.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 5:18 PM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 5:33 PM

Changes are coming to the Huntsville Police Department in January. Officers will start working five-day work weeks instead of the four-day weeks the department changed to in May.

Huntsville Police said the longer shifts aren't working. The department explained the increase in hours allowed overlap in shifts during peak times like overnight and early mornings, a time when the department sees most crimes and traffic accidents happens. 

After five months, they determined safety concerns outweighed any positives.

"It was becoming apparent in reports of situations of officers not having back-up. These instances were happening a little more often than when we were on the eights. That was one main issue," said Lieutenant Michael Johnson with Huntsville Police.

Johnson said the decision didn't come easy, but the department's command staff determined they don't have enough officers to accommodate the longer shifts and shorter work weeks.

An officer shortage is nothing new. The department is looking to have 40 cadets in its spring academy. 17 cadets graduated last spring.

Johnson told us it takes about a full year from when an academy class starts for those officers to hit the streets on their own. If and when the department is able to get more officers, it could reevaluate if longer shifts and shorter work weeks are feasible.

Huntsville Police said it plans for officer shifts to go back to five eight-hour days in January to allow officers to readjust their personal time, since they will only have two days off each week.

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