Police Scheduling (Schedule Optimization)

For many agencies, overtime budgets are increasing due to inefficient work schedules, not solely due to staff shortages. Too many agencies operate on antiquated schedules that no longer fit the agency’s workload curve. Overstaffing in the early morning hours leads to short staffing in the afternoon hours when call loads are at their highest. Etico Solutions has developed a methodology to staff your agency in a way that is most attuned to the agency’s workload curve.

Our process begins by collecting data on citizen generated calls for service over a multi-year period. The calls for service are charted out by hour of day and day of week to determine the agency's workload curve. Employee schedules are reviewed and entered into a schedule optimizing program which determines the number of officers on duty by hour of day and day of week and charts the agency's staffing curve. The workload curve and the staffing curve are then compared and scored using an efficiency index rating.

Once the baseline efficiency for an agency's schedule has been determined, the schedule is optimized using different implementations of officers into the various shifts or squads, altering shift start times, adding additional shifts, or completely changing the duty cycle schedule in use by the agency. Each incremental change can be measured using the efficiency index to determine the most optimal schedule for the agency.

In the vast majority of cases, optimizing work schedules is the fastest and easiest way to improve operational efficiency, decrease overtime, reduce response times to calls for service, maintain beat integrity, and ensure that officers can use leave times when requested. However, the process of deciding how many officers should be assigned to a particular shift is only a small part of shift optimization. There are a number of management issues that must also be addressed when a shift schedule is considered. "Team integrity", "unity of command", "schedule equity" and "officer fatigue" all tie into the work schedule used by an agency and each concept can play a significant effect on the operational efficiency.