Officer Fatigue and Its Consequences

Officer fatigue is a complex phenomenon which is not influenced by a single factor, such as shift duration. However, poor sleep quality can significantly contribute to it, and various schedules may impact one’s ability to rest properly. For instance, several long shifts in succession, which is the case with 3/12, are likely to cause fatigue and affect an officer’s performance, especially on the following day. As for shorter shifts, such as 5/8 or 4/10, their effect depends on whether they are day/night or afternoon, as the latter is associated with a higher risk of tiredness. Overall, 4/10 is considered optimal compared to 5/8 or 3/12, reportedly allowing for more time to rest and leading to a higher quality of work. Thus, the schedule choice influences officer fatigue and should be selected carefully.

Considering the previous findings, the 4/10 shift schedule would be the best for implementation due to having fewer risks than other options. Although it is less flexible than the 8-hour one, removing the afternoon patrol, which is associated with many issues, could compensate for the loss. Due to the conflicting reports, choosing between a rotating and a fixed schedule is challenging. However, it appears that fixed night shifts can be the most detrimental for one’s health, so the first option might alleviate the negative effect. Altogether, a rotating 4/10 schedule will be implemented in the organization.

Some community policing requirements can allow for more autonomy rather than restrict it. According to Skogan, individual officers may be given more responsibility and freedom, so they will have to design their schedules according to personal goals and the area’s needs. Thus, enforcing a fixed shift on a department in charge of numerous communities will be detrimental, as the circumstances will vary. Still, it is important to determine whether an officer acts professionally while choosing a schedule or has hidden motives. Overall, community policing may impact scheduling by requiring more flexibility, but some are likely to abuse the system.

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