Public safety is a demanding job, if not one of the most difficult and complex in today’s world. There are many external pressures such as public mistrust, challenges in reengaging with their communities, shrinking budgets, and a rapidly changing workforce. There are also many internal challenges such as excessive overtime expenditures, exposure to risk due to officer fatigue, lack of scheduling or training oversight and an unengaged workforce. While it may be difficult to change the outside landscape, those internal issues are within the control of agencies and can have an impact on how agencies are coping with their external challenges.
In fact, many of these issues stem from an ineffective or outdated scheduling tool, that if left unaddressed, can have many negative impacts on an agency’s ability to respond efficiently and timely in difficult situations, manage a limited budget to optimize resources, mitigate risk and liabilities, and ensure compliance all while keeping staff engaged.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are the top five reasons law enforcement agencies are benefitting from a robust and sophisticated scheduling solution.
1. Reduce overtime spend
Overtime is a critical function of law enforcement and while it can’t entirely be eliminated, it can certainly be managed and controlled. Agencies have shared during an InTime-led survey that excessive overtime costs can result in officer fatigue, failure to attain necessary resources, poor management credibility, and negative political ramifications. And managing agency overtime without the right tools can lead to a quickly escalating uncontrolled spend. In fact, agencies agree that having detailed line of sight visibility into their overtime spending can significantly resolve these issues.
An automated scheduling solution will help agencies do more with less. A smart solution will have coverage level intelligence which gives schedulers with a bird’s eye view to optimize staffing and mitigate unnecessary call-ins. A robust solution can also help agencies build a proactive staffing strategy through rich insights that helps staff track and forecast agency leave.
2. Streamline agency operations
There’s already a lot to juggle working in law enforcement and spending more time doing administrative tasks shouldn’t be one of them. A large advantage of switching to an automated solution is to liberate staff’s time and optimize an agency’s personnel resources. Instead of sifting through mountains of paper or spreadsheets, an automated scheduling system allows for increased visibility. Everything is in one place, such as making changes, posting shifts, viewing different schedules can be done on one screen. Schedulers also have the ability to view the schedule by team, location, activity, and by specific date range so they can see what is relevant to them.
In addition, a robust solution enables agencies to manage their extra-duty and court shifts alongside their day-to-day schedule. This ensures visibility on all areas, eliminating any double bookings, excessive OT, and reduce risk of officer fatigue.
3. Ensure union and agency compliance
Law enforcement is a demanding industry where a mistake can be very costly. An automated scheduling solution helps reduce chances of human error and proactively mitigate risks and liabilities. A sophisticated scheduling system enables agencies to pre-build their agency rules into the software, ensuring that agency’s make the right staffing decision, every time. This also includes union rules related to overtime where it’s important to ensure equitable distribution.
4. Improve team engagement and communication
Communication is essential in law enforcement. Teams need to always stay in the loop, wherever they are. This includes making and approving leave requests, posting and approving overtime shifts and having schedules accessible at all times. An automated scheduling solution enables teams to carry out these activities, whether they’re at their desk, out on the streets or at home. A sophisticated scheduling will have a mobile app that streamlines two-way communication. This ultimately boosts employee engagement as any confusion, mistakes, and any crossed lines of communication with staff can be eliminated.
5. Better forecast work trends
A large part of enabling smart decision-making is having rich insights and data. This is proven to be difficult when information is spread out in various locations and when historical data isn’t effectively stored. However, with an automated scheduling solution, staff can easily look at past data with ease. A robust solution can also provide rich insights through various reports to foresee any administrative risk issues before they become bigger problems. Having greater oversight and reporting also drive accountability and fairness into overtime allocation, leave approvals, and more which helps protect agencies further from risk, while also improving staff morale.
Who InTime helps
InTime is a highly configurable and robust scheduling and workforce management platform built for law enforcement. It is designed to act as a central operation hub, empowering agencies to spend smarter, work efficiently, reduce risk, and engage teams. With over 500 law enforcement agencies relying on InTime daily and a 97% customer retention rate, InTime is a proven solution dedicated to helping agencies run better.
Curious? See it for yourself.