House bill would change work shifts for Louisville Metro police officers

01/20/2016 05:03 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would allow Louisville Metro Police patrol officers to work 36 hours one week, followed by a week with 44 hours without receiving overtime has unanimously cleared the House Standing Committee on Local Government.

House Bill 149, sponsored by Rep. Jeffery Donohue, D-Fairdale, would open the door for officers to work 12-hour shifts, which Louisville Metro Police says will increase the number of patrol officers on the street during any given shift.

Currently, state law prohibits the city from adopting the 12-hour model without paying overtime to officers.

The legislation is based on a $68,000 staffing study, conducted by an Illinois based consulting firm, that recommended LMPD move to either a scheduling system of eight-hour shifts in a five/six-day work week with a two/three-day weekend or a model that uses 12-hour shifts and rotates on/off days in two and three-day increments.

The study was conducted as a result of the riverfront melee two years ago led by a group of rowdy teenagers that caused residents, police officials and Metro Council members to question if the city had enough officers.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said that it was discovered when exploring the possible move to 12-hour shifts that the current Kentucky statute required his department to pay overtime for over 40 hours of work in any given week.

It was then discovered that there was one exception for firefighters, and the goal became to gain another exception for the police department through the legislation.

“On this kind of schedule, one week you work four days, the other week you work 36 hours, so every other week you have overtime,” Conrad said. “It was going to be a million dollar impact every year to our department.”

Conrad says that the study showed another benefit of the work schedule is the fact it will provide better police coverage of the city.

“You’ve got fifty percent of your people available to work on any given day on one shift or the other,” Conrad said. “Essentially you’ve got the same number of officers that had been spread out among three shifts, are now spread out among two shifts.”

Conrad believes that the move would have a positive effect on the moral of the men and women in his department.

“I feel confident that our officers will adjust to this shift,” Conrad said. “I think officers will find themselves spending more time at home, having more time off, being more rested, being less stressed, and hopefully more pro-active.”

Louisville Fraternal Order of Police President Dave Mutchler sees the new shifts as favorable for the officers as well as the department.

“What you have here is something good for metro government, good for the police department, good for the citizens that we serve, and at the same time, is something that is good for the officers that work on the street,” Mutchler said.

The bill now moves to the full House.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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