Finding a more efficient system for overtime management in an effort to reduce costs is a goal of almost every law enforcement agency. Working overtime is common within the police force, as mandatory overtime is used when there is a shortage of officers, requiring officers to work overtime to fill vacant patrol positions. Officers also accrue overtime through extra-duty assignments, such as college sporting events, weekly concert performances, and nightlife entertainment.
Manual overtime management can no longer keep up with the amount of time spent on back-and-forth communication required in order to schedule and coordinate off-duty assignments and overtime shifts. For this reason, implementing an automated overtime management system will benefit your agency in the short and long term. Here are five benefits of automated overtime management for law enforcement:
Automating your overtime management significantly reduces the hours spent on overtime coordinating and scheduling. Coordinating and scheduling your overtime manually requires a lot of back-and-forth communication. By automating your overtime, agencies simply post overtime shifts from wherever they are and have staff instantly notified. Fast signups ensure overtime shifts are filled in minutes, reducing the amount of time spent creating overtime schedules and filling shift assignments.
Visibility into overtime spend is an important benefit of automated overtime management for law enforcement. Police agencies can see what exactly is contributing to overtime, and use overtime reports to support efficient cost recovery. Most overtime management systems allow schedulers to view reports that automatically calculate total overtime hours worked by each officer during a certain period of time. This visibility allows schedulers to make changes to shift assignments, in order to allocate overtime assignments fairly and equitably.
An automated overtime management system also gives a bird’s-eye-view into your entire agency schedule, so you know where every officer is at all times. This visibility reduces the necessary back-and-forth communication that a manual overtime system requires.
Every department should keep overtime allocation compliant. With some workforce management software, such as InTime’s, overtime allocation is based on set agency rules, configured by the agency. Automated software will choose the best employee for the shift based on performance, seniority and training requirements. This removes the chance of any employee being scheduled for an overtime shift they’re not qualified for. Rule-based assignments mitigate risks like fatigue and non-training compliance and allow you to support the safety of your officers at all times.
It can be difficult and time consuming to allocate overtime shifts fairly if your agency is manually managing overtime distribution. An automated overtime management system will choose the most qualified employee to ensure equitable overtime distribution. The system automatically chooses qualified employees with the least amount of overtime to work the shift, which will reduce your overtime costs, ensure equitable allocation of shifts and remove any risk of perceived bias.
The largest benefit of an automated overtime management system for law enforcement is cost reduction. Automated overtime management gives you full visibility into what activities are contributing into overtime, allowing your scheduling team to take appropriate action to reduce overtime costs. It also increases your budgeting accuracy, as schedulers now have the visibility to see where overtime budgets are being spent. With accurate budget forecasting, agencies can proactively reallocate money to different departments, in an effort to stay within budget.
The bottom line
The result of each one of the above benefits—efficiency, overtime visibility, compliance and fairness—contributes to cost reduction for law enforcement agencies. Automating your overtime management system is the best way to reduce your overtime costs while continuing to run a fair and efficient law enforcement department.