Unprecedented study of extended Phoenix Police shifts nearing conclusion

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- An independent study of Phoenix police officers who are working extremely extended shifts is nearing a close with a variety of reviews.

Midwestern University is studying officers from the Cactus Park precinct who are working three 13 hour and 20 minute shifts a week, followed by four days off.  A control group of officers from a different precinct is also being looked at.  They still work ten hour shifts, four days a week.

The university is monitoring the effects on the officers' personal lives, their fatigue level, the economic feasibility, and whether the quality of service to the public is affected.

"I wouldn't say they love it or hate it yet. I think we're going to have to wait until the conclusion of the pilot program to see what the surveys indicate.  There are clearly challenges to it.  I'm told that it can be trying and taxing to do 13 hours for three days, but on the same note, some like it," said Joe Clure, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

PLEA supported officers' involvement in the study, which comes amid a budget crunch and hiring freeze for the Phoenix Police Department.

"Everything will be taken into consideration. We're going to look at it, and we're going to ask one simple question based on the results of this study, 'is it feasible, is this safe?'  We want to know, under these conditions, what type of product we can provide as far as public safety," said Phoenix Police officer James Holmes, who has been monitoring the study for the agency.

The changes were never meant to be permanent, although they could possibly be depending on the outcome. 

The six-month study ends in July.  The results are expected to be published in November or January.