Police Chief Ben Raymond talks about the idea of the SPD changing from 8 to 12 hour patrol shifts and the advantages and disadvantages.

State lawmakers will consider a bill that would approve a major change for staffing the Shreveport Patrol Division.

The bill, sponsored by State Representative Alan Seabaugh at the behest of SPD leadership, would  "authorize the Shreveport police chief to establish a two-platoon system for employees of the city's police department."

Right now, state law mandates that any city with a population over 50,000 people is required to divide the members of its police force into 3 platoons. Currently, Shreveport officers are divided among 3-8 hour shifts each day. The change would allow SPD to have 2 platoons, or 2-12 hour daily shifts.

"This has been a discussion for 18 months now," the Chief says, "We had a study done...look at our shift schedule, look at the personnel issues we're having, the amount of money we're currently spending in overtime to meet staffing and patrol and it was determined that 12 hour shifts would be a better alternative at this stage.

"We're 95 officers down. We're spending a million plus in overtime costs per year . We have officers routinely working 16 hour shifts. We're now directing officers to work an occasional half-shift. Twelve hour shifts appears top be a better, more efficient operation from an administrative and budgetary standpoint."

If passed by both houses of the state legislature and signed by the Governor, the SPD would then have the option to make the change. But first, says Raymond, after consulting with department leaders, as well as the rank and file, the move would also have to meet the approval of Shreveport voters before the plan could be put in place.


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