The familiar term “10/4” has been buzzing around the Central Operations Division lately – and it doesn’t refer to an acknowledgement on the police radio.

Officers at Central recently started working 10 hours, four days a week, instead of the traditional eight-hour shifts during five days. Also, officers and their first-line supervisors are assigned to work as squads or teams with the same work schedules. The six month trial of this work schedule began the first week of July at Central.

Another pilot project which changes command responsibilities of some supervisors began simultaneously in the Southwest Patrol Division. Both projects are designed to enhance the concept of Community Policing.

About 20 years ago the department went to fixed eight hour shifts. This system allowed commanders to better distribute manpower in three daily shifts (we call them watches) based on the demand for police service. Unfortunately, the evening shift eventually lost many of the senior officers who had once led “teams” to shifts with more desirable schedules.

Old timers on the force remember when they rotated eight hour shifts every month. I heard from them that even though the shift rotation was hard on their families, they miss the team spirit that existed within the rotating squads. (Notice how I haven’t placed myself in the old timer category.)

The squad concept brings back a cohesive unit working the same hours with the same faces every work day – a team. The 10-hour work day allows officers’ schedules to overlap during peak call load periods, increasing the number of officers available during these times. Most officers are happy to work the two extra hours per day to gain an additional day off.

At the end of the six month trial period the 10/4 system will be evaluated. If 10/4 at Central and the command responsibility project at Southwest prove successful, the two divisions will implement both projects to evaluate how they work together.

Community Policing Officers Still Make Arrests

I’m not supposed to tell stories in this column that are best left to real newspaper reporters, but I have to mention this one to illustrate a point.

Community police officers do not stop doing “real” police work as some critics claim. Recently, the DFW Airport Police broadcast a description of an armed robbery suspect and the vehicle he was driving over the Dallas Police mobile computer terminals in the officers’ cars.

Within the hour, Patrol Officer Jackie Berscherer and Community Policing Officers Tommy Raley and Thomas Sible, with the help of the police helicopter, arrested the suspect. The suspect had robbed individuals at gun point the previous night in Plano, at DFW Airport and in North Dallas. All officers involved did an outstanding job in coordinating the search for and arrest of this felon.

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