On Jan. 1, the Woodland Park Police Department began a new 12-hour rotation known as the Pitman schedule: a work schedule of five days on, two days off.
Officers now work 12-hour shifts for two days in a row, then have two days off, followed by three 12-hour days and three days off. The Department formerly utilized a schedule which had three eight-hour shifts each day.
The new schedule is expected to reduce staffing costs slightly this year, and likely more in 2023, with savings starting at around $10,000. The Borough budgets around $120,000 for overtime, and the hope is to see a reduction in that as well.
Police Chief John Uzzalino noted that the change has been talked about for 20 years, but this fall the 28-officer Department decided to make the switch. As officers get every other weekend off, it makes it easier for them to plan family events.
The new policy means that instead of three eight-hour shifts each day and a schedule that rotates more frequently, there are two shifts per day and four squads of officers. Officers in each squad get every other weekend off.
A study cited by The Record in a story about the new schedule said that an academic study found that the 12-hour shift may be the most sustainable for officers. Fewer shifts with more time between them gives officers more recovery and free time.
The new schedule also allows the Department to put more officers on the street during busiest times. That happens because there are more officers on duty.