Performance was ranked by looking at reaction time, motor abilities, fatigue and alertness. Not surprisingly, performance is highest in 8-hour shifts. Moving up to a 10-hour shift, there was a slight decrease in performance, but it was fairly minimal. Once we extend that shift to 12-hours however, officers reported increased fatigue and reduced alertness during their shifts.
Quality of Life
Quality of life was based on satisfaction, commitment and involvement levels. Those officers working 10-hour shifts had an improved quality of life compared to those working 8 & 12-hour shifts.
So does that mean 10-hour shifts are the best?
Well not so fast, there are other considerations. Although 10 hour shifts tend to be the most popular with officers, they do have their problems. Since 10 does not go into 24 evenly, it means that you have to have some overlapping shifts throughout the day. Currently at Tigard PD the 10-hour shifts are set up like this:
- Day Shift – 08:00-18:00
- Swing Shift – 14:00-24:00
- Night Shift – 22:00-08:00
You can see that the overlap is not an even 2 hours for each shift, that’s because the overlap is based on calls-for-service spikes, like rush hour and late at night.
This overlap that comes with 10-hour shifts is great for the officers they get more support, but it requires double the equipment! During each overlap period, you have to be able to equip all of your on-duty officers with squad cars, radios, etc. When there is no overlap, all of this extra equipment sits idle. To support a 10-hour shift pattern the agency ends up having to buy twice as much equipment, and importantly, maintain twice as much equipment as well.
This is the main reason that management prefers 8, or 12-hour shifts as they only require one set of equipment.