Greenfield police switching to 12-hour shifts

GREENFIELD — Greenfield’s police department soon will adopt 12-hour shifts, which puts more patrol officers on city streets throughout the day.

Beginning next month, the department will move to longer shifts (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) for its 28 patrol officers, who currently work eight hours.

Seven officers will be scheduled to work each shift, Rasche said. That’s two to three more than work the average shift now.

Department leaders say after six months they’ll re-evaluate whether the shift change is one they want to make permanent.

Greenfield Police Chief Jeff Rasche told city officials this week he began researching 12-hour shifts for his officers after a few approached him about restructuring their schedules.

For the past few weeks, department leaders researched the advantages of changing schedules and also considered the risks.

Officers who would be impacted by the change voted unanimously in support of it, Rasche said.

The department’s administrators will maintain their current schedules, while officers charged with patrolling city streets move to one of four shifts. Two shifts will alternate working during the day, while the other two patrol overnight.

Rasche said initially he wasn’t in favor of extending the officers’ work days. He’s worked 12 hour shifts in the past and didn’t like it, he said.

But the department formed a committee to look at the proposal, and officers supported the move.

With the change, officers will work seven 12-hour shifts during the two-week pay period.

While their days will be longer, they’ll actually wind up working fewer days throughout the year, Rasche said.

One of the benefits is officers will have every other weekend off, Rasche said.

Now, they work five days, take two days off, work another five days and then have three days off. Those days off don’t always fall during a weekend.

The change won’t have any impact on pay, clerk-treasurer Lori Elmore told the city’s board of works.

When researching the 12-hour shift, the committee found more and more police departments are moving away from the traditional eight-hour work day toward a more compressed work week, Rasche said.

Rasche looked at other police departments in Indiana that have similar work schedules, including Brownsburg, Shelbyville, Avon, Plainfield and Fishers.

Mayor Chuck Fewell, a former Indiana State Police trooper, said he’s worked long shifts in the past and prefers working shorter shifts.

But he talked with officers from other departments and was surprised to hear they love 12-hour shifts, he said.

Department leaders will re-evaluate the new system in August before choosing to make the change permanent, Rasche said.

“Obviously, I have the authority to pull the plug on this if I feel it’s a safety issue or it just is not going to work for our department,” Rasche said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or