Introducing MyTime Scheduling App for iOS!

Introducing MyTime Scheduling App for iOS!

Why your agency need an employee scheduling app

InTime is the only public safety scheduling system to offer a complete employee phone app. For organizations already using InTime for their scheduling and timekeeping, employees can use the MyTime Phone App to check their schedules, make requests and receive notifications. And now it’s available on both Android and iOS! If you are currently looking for scheduling software, read our article “5 Reasons Your Scheduling Software Should Have a Mobile App.”

Why does your scheduling system need an employee phone app?

Your employees prefer to communicate on their mobile devices. The average American adult spends almost 3 hours on their smartphone every day according to a 2017 study by comScore. Your employees have their phones on them all the time, so it only makes sense that they receive scheduling updates directly to their mobile devices.

Better Two-Way Communication

Scheduling is a two-way street; supervisors need to be able to quickly relay shift changes and post out overtime and employees need to be able to respond to overtime and request leave. With instant push notifications and live updates, employees receive this information and can take action faster than ever before.

Employees can view their timebanks and request leave from the app.

Instant Notifications

Any schedule changes, request approvals or sign-up approvals trigger an automatic push notification to the employee. Your staff are guaranteed to always be up to date.

Employees receive push notifications from the app, so they are guaranteed to know if there were any changes to the schedule.

One example of how this can affect your agency’s bottom line is notifications of court cancellations. Often officers who are called as witnesses show up to court even when it has been cancelled because of untimely notifications, costing agencies millions in overtime every year. Learn about how the mobile scheduling app helped Orange County Integrated Law & Justice to save 33% in court related overtime costs by clicking here.

Get Shifts Filled Faster

Agencies using paper scheduling systems are quite familiar with those messy sign-up sheets posted around the office. Employees have to be at the station to sign up for shifts and if you can’t fill all your overtime, supervisors have to spend hours calling back and forth with staff.

Employees can view and filter available overtime postings and request to sign up from their phone.

Scheduling systems make this whole process quite a lot easier. Supervisors can really tailor down who they are reaching out to and employees can request to sign up for a shift from their phones. This makes the process more equitable, since employees all have an equal and fair chance to sign up. They don’t miss out on overtime just because they were on their day off!

Employee Punch In & Out from your Phone

If your organization requires you to punch in and out on the job, then you are probably familiar with the expensive clock in and out devices installed at the office or local court house. The MyTime phone app mitigates the need for having these devices by having a punch system built right into the employee’s phone.

Employees can punch in and out from their phone only if they are in the specified location.

Schedulers simply set up the location in which the employee is required to punch in from and when the employee punches in from that specified location it will be logged in the InTime scheduling and timekeeping system. This is referred to as geo-punching.

What’s coming in the future?

Timesheets and Electronic Overtime Slips

Coming just around the corner is the ability for employees to review and approve their timesheets from the MyTime App. Employees will also be able to submit multiple overtime slips at the same time for approval.

A new feature we are working on is the ability for employees to make edits to existing assignments for approval. For example, an employee who started at 08:00 instead of 10:00 can simply edit the existing assignment start time for supervisor approval.

Supervisor Access

The next project our developers are working on is giving supervisors the ability to approve leaves, sign-ups and timesheets from their mobile devices. It will also allow for simple schedule changes and post overtime on the fly!

Empower your employees and become more efficient

If your agency isn’t currently using a scheduling system, look for a solution that offers an employee phone app. Not only will you improve communication, but overall operational efficiency. Don’t know what to look for in a scheduling system? Fill out your information below and download our Scheduling Software Evaluation Checklist:

Fill out this form and get immediate access to the Scheduling Checklist to help with your software evaluations:

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Already a customer and want to start using the mobile app? Download on iOS or Android now!

About the Author

Shay Vallabh

Marketing Manager

Shay has been working at InTime for 3 years and has a passion for technology and simplifying complex problems.

How Many Officers Are Enough?

How Many Officers Are Enough?

How many officers are enough?

Do you need enough to fill the districts?

Do you need enough to respond to emergencies in 5 minutes instead of 6?

Or do you need to take a new look at how this is all calculated?

The Gold Standard

How Many Officers Are EnoughTraditionally, calls for service have always been the gold standard for determining how many officers are needed. For many years, departments justified their staffing levels based on a formula of calls for service and number of officers per 1,000 population.

Being concerned with just calls for service is reactive policing though. Over the past 10 or 15 years the formula has been under fire for failing to satisfactorily address the policing needs of communities. You have little control over spikes in calls for service and when they do happen, calling for more officers does little as it takes an average of two years to take a new recruit and train him to a point where he is effective on the streets.

Calls for service are still an important statistic, but they can be heavily affected by external factors which ebb and flow.

Project-Based Policing

Many agencies have been switching from a reactive to a proactive approach. Rather than being stuck with unexpected spikes in calls for service which reduce officer’s self-initiated activity time and uncommitted time, these agencies have made the commitment to use their officers’ uncommitted time for Project-Based Policing.

Project-Based Policing comes in many forms such as Community Policing and Hot-Spot Policing. The primary technique of Blog-How many Officers are enough-crime mapProject-Based Policing is called DDACTS or Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety.

DDACTS

The idea with the DDACTS technique is to identify and do analysis on common hot spots (small geographic locations), common problem locations (houses and apartments) and also specific individuals.

Each project has a project manager who assigns officers on their uncommitted time to these projects. The project managers have the power to order more resources from other areas of the department as well if needed. They focus on these areas until the project goals are accomplished, and with every goal reached the average number of calls for service are decreased.

What is a typical goal?

The goal of a project should be something quantifiable such as:

Reduce the number of calls-for-service from a specific problem area by 25%.

A problem area could be an apartment complex or a nuisance house that is generating a lot of calls for service. Achieving these goals usually requires a collaborative effort involving landlords and city workers.

Staffing Shortages and Analysis

The most important step of project-based policing is the first step, doing your research.

A good analysis means that you have real data to base your decisions on and makes sure that you’re addressing the real problems, not just the symptoms.

In a perfect world, your agency will be able to have its own Crime Analyst who can collect investigative and intelligence data from various sources to identify trends and patterns.

Tigard Police Department

Tigard PD uses Project-Based Policing. Currently, however, they are faced with some staffing shortages and an increase in call loads. Right now the day shifts have only 10-15% of their day available as uncommitted time. In comparison, their night shift’s have 70-80% of their shift available as uncommitted time!

Tigard PD has dedicated traffic cars and motorcycles, so general patrol is not required to work a certain amount of self-initiated activity unless related to a project. These low uncommitted numbers could be because of a lack of officers, or just a series of events which led to a higher call load. Based on this, you could argue that some night shift personnel should be temporarily transferred to focus on the specific problems causing the higher call load, however this requires more analysis to really identify the problem.

While doing that analysis, it might be found that the population is actually growing, or some other long-term factor is affecting call levels which would then require more officers to be hired, on top of the project-based policing.

Solving the Staffing Shortage

To really solve staffing shortages, you have to do your research and analysis to determine what and where the problem is. Once you’ve done that, focus on the root causes with officers’ uncommitted time to reduce calls for service. With less calls for service your officers will now have more uncommitted time, allowing them to be even more effective with project-based policing. It’s a positive feedback cycle.

In the end though, if your city is experiencing population growth or other long-term issues, you might just need more officers.

About the Author

Ricky Rhodes

Retired Lieutenant of Tigard PD / FBINAA #220

Ricky has over 30 years of experience serving in the police force and is an active member of the FBINAA community. Since retiring from the Tigard Police Department, he has worked at InTime helping other police departments solve their complex scheduling requirements.

Rotation Schedule

3 Changes to your Rotation Schedule that Can Save Lives

If beauty sleep is your top priority, then being a cop just might not be for you. In a study by Boston BWH (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) it was found that 40% of police officers in the US suffer from sleep disorders.

I know what you’re thinking, tell me something I don’t already know! However, it’s an astounding statistic given the immense expectations placed on us; to be bright eyed, bushy tailed and alert while working rotating schedules, forced overtime and court appearances.

In my 30 years of experience in Law Enforcement, I have definitely felt the effects of sleep deprivation and have always felt that police departments can do more to mitigate its effects on officer performance.

A major factor contributing to this problem are poorly thought out rotating schedules. However, rotations are an integral part of many police departments and there is definitely a rationale for using them.

 

3 Benefits of Well Thought out Scheduling Rotations

1.Well Rounded Employees

Getting its start in the hotel industry, rotating shifts were introduced in an effort to produce employees that can work a variety of positions. The same benefit is apparent in the police force; well-rounded cops that are able to work at different times, in different areas and with different people. After all, it is statistically shown that the majority of crime occurs in the PM. Officers not exposed to this will be missing a critical piece of their training – real world experience.

2. Helps Reduce Burnout

Prolonged periods of ‘shift-work’ (hours outside of 7:00-18:00) can have a catastrophic impact on employee health and well being. Research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has been able to demonstrate the carcinogenic effects that long-term shift work can have on employees. Even more, they found that shift workers tended to have higher levels of gastrointestinal disorders and mental health issues. A higher rate of job-related accidents and cardiovascular disease was also reported.

3. Combats Police Boredom

Doing the same thing day in and out can get tedious for anyone. For the same reason that rotating schedules help police become more well-rounded it also helps to keep things interesting and adds variety. It also gives employees the opportunity to change their schedule if they are stuck with a rotation they aren’t too keen on. New recruits are less likely to be stuck with shift-work for long periods of time.

3 Changes to your Rotation Schedule that Can Save Lives

 

There are always two sides to the coin, and rotating schedules have their drawbacks as well:

1. Unnatural Lifestyle

Employees tend to like fixed schedules better. It allows them to make plans and have a life outside of the PD. It also allows their bodies time to adjust to their schedules and is less strenuous on their circadian rhythm.

2. Increased Fatigue and Health Issues

While rotating schedules should be designed to reduce burnout, often they do the opposite. A study commissioned by the Chicago Police Lieutenants Association states that, “officers who rotate frequently are more often fatigued, suffer increased level of sleep disorders, are more likely to have traffic accidents and are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease”.

3. Scheduling Issues

Frequent rotations can put strain on police administration. Creating new schedules each rotation, especially if they are frequent, is a tedious and time consuming process (not to mention the bidding process).

The issue can be made incredibly easy by using an automated system for building schedules. Rotations can be built well in advance and uploaded and populated with employees with the click of a button.

The Curious Case of Philadelphia Police Department

Let’s take a look at the case of Philadelphia Police. For decades they had been using a ‘Backwards Clock Rotation,’ which involved working 3 different shifts that switched every week (6 on/2 off). The rotation looked something like this:

  • Week 1: 07:00-15:00
  • Week 2: 23:00-07:00
  • Week 3: 15:00-23:00

What prompted Philadelphia PD to make a drastic change? Well for starters a concerning number of officers were dropping dead before retirement, a larger number were showing signs of cardiovascular disease and there was a peculiarly high rate of job related motor-vehicle accidents. Sounds spooky right?

3 Changes to your Rotation Schedule that Can Save Lives

 

Dr. Charles Czeisler’s Year Long Study on the Philadelphia Police Department

Captain Lou Campione, of Philadelphia PD, long suspected that the issue was a result of their scheduling and commissioned Dr. Charles Czeisler, an expert in circadian biology and sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, to conduct a yearlong study. Dr. Czeisler made three significant changes to the schedule:

1.Forward Clock Rotation

He reversed the order of shifts to be in line with our natural circadian rhythm. The rotation still had 3 shifts but looked like this:

  • Week 1-3: 24:00 – 08:00
  • Week 4-6: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Week 7-9: 16:00 – 24:00

2. Four Days on, Three Off

3. Longer Adjustment Period

Each shift pattern was extended from 1 week to 3, allowing employees more time to properly adjust.

The Results are in: The Best Schedule According to Science!

The changes implemented by Dr. Czeisler yielded dramatic results. At the end of the yearlong study, Philadelphia PD reported a 40% reduction in accidents and a 25% reduction in officers falling asleep on duty. Twice as many officers reported having no problems with daytime fatigue and employees reported much higher job satisfaction.

The reason for the improvements came down to having a schedule that worked in sync with people’s natural circadian rhythms and giving officers a longer period of time for their bodies to adjust to each shift.

Philadelphia PD reported a 40% reduction in accidents and a 25% reduction in officers falling asleep on duty.

What can you do?

You may be saying to yourself that your PD’s rotation pattern is not even close to as bad as Philadelphia PD’s backwards clock rotation. That is probably true, but the insights gained from this study give us the opportunity to look at our rotations with a critical eye. Are problems that we are experiencing as a department related to scheduling? Do our shift patterns and rotations make sense with people’s natural circadian rhythms?

The root of your problems may be written right there in your schedule.

About the Author

Ricky Rhodes

Retired Lieutenant of Tigard PD / FBINAA #220

Ricky has over 30 years of experience serving in the police force and is an active member of the FBINAA community. Since retiring from the Tigard Police Department, he has worked at InTime helping other police departments solve their complex scheduling requirements.

Choose the Right Shift Length

8 Hours, 10 Hours, 12 Hours. Choosing the Right Shift Length

Due to the nature of police work, rotating schedules are not going away anytime soon. What most people don’t realize is that the actual length of the shift being rotated is important.

Choosing the right shift length can improve employee morale, increase performance, and reduce overtime… but choosing the wrong one can cause fatigue, reduce reaction time and result in your officers getting less sleep. As you can see, it’s a big decision that has a lot of effects, and you should know the pros and cons of the various shift lengths.

A study conducted by the Police Foundation out of Washington, D.C. looked into the effects of agencies moving towards longer shifts. Their hope was to determine whether the movement towards 10 or 12 hour law enforcement shifts from 8 hour ones (up over 11% between 2005-2009) would provide agencies with benefits such as reduced overtime hours, sick leave and a better quality of life.

Two agencies were examined in Detroit, MI and Arlington, TX, during which 300 non-supervisory officers were randomly scheduled for 8, 10 or 12 hour shifts over 6 months.

 

The Results

 

Sleep

Officers working 10-hour shifts reported that they were getting over 30 minutes more sleep per night compared to those officers working 8-hour shifts and 12-hour shifts.

 

Overtime Hours

Overtime was dramatically reduced when officers switched to a 10-hour shift, with the amount of overtime worked dropping to 20% of previous levels.

Officers working 12-hour shifts also reduced their overtime hours, not quite as much, but still cutting them down to 30% of previous levels.

Choosing the Right Shift Length

Performance

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 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.

 

So Which One Then?

Well as you can see they all have their own pros and cons, and it depends on whether you’re looking at it from an officer or a management perspective. 8-hour shifts are the simplest, but they can result in a lot of overtime. 10-hour shifts are the best for officers, but require a lot of extra expenses to the department in equipment costs. 12-hour shifts solve the double equipment problem, and reduce overtime, but at the cost of employee performance. With this information, you’ll have to decide which is the best shift length for your department.

About the Author

Ricky Rhodes

Retired Lieutenant of Tigard PD / FBINAA #220

Ricky has over 30 years of experience serving in the police force and is an active member of the FBINAA community. Since retiring from the Tigard Police Department, he has worked at InTime helping other police departments solve their complex scheduling requirements.