By BOB SHRALUKA
The Decatur Police Department is moving to a new work system which Chief Kevin Gerber says should benefit all of its officers.
The PD will soon be going to two 12-hour shifts rather than the long-standing three 8-hour shifts. And if that seems like something a bit radical, well, Gerber says the Adams County Sheriff’s Department has been doing the 12-hour shifts for a number of years.
In presenting the idea to the Decatur Board of Works and Safety at its recent meeting, Gerber also presented a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to govern the new setup.
Once it is reviewed by all officers – the majority of whom support the new system. Gerber said – then the change can be put in place.
City Attorney Anne Razo said going to the 12-hour shifts will bring no changes in salaries or in the number of work hours.
The department currently has three sergeants – Mark Cook, Derek Loshe and Lucas Rumschlag – and city councilman Matt Dyer asked if that meant one would be eliminated.
Gerber replied that he has some special duties in mind for the veteran Cook, who will remain a sergeant. Cook has been a full-tie officer with the department since 1993.
The system will give officers increased weekends off. “And who doesn’t hold that dear to their heart … so it will increase good mental health,” Gerber told WZBD.com.
He also pointed out that it will also eliminate a quirk in the current setup which forces officers, once every three months, to work 11 consecutive days.
The system of three 8-hour shifts has been in place since the late 1970s or early 1980s, Gerber noted. “So we thought we’d just shake things up a bit; we’re just looking to do something different. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll try something else.”