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September 1, 2022

48-hour Shifts: Michigan Police Try Something New

 A small police department in Jonesville, Michigan, is trying something new. A recent job posting by the Jonesville Police Department on the city’s website sought to hire two full-time police officers who would work 48-hour shifts with 96 hours off, as the type of shifts seen at fire departments and emergency medical services around the country.

Critics of the move claim the 48-hour shifts could lead to increased liability due to potentially tired officers responding to calls for service. The Jonesville Department of Public Safety Director Kurt Etter released a statement answering some of the questions people have had. Etter stated officers on duty would be able to rest at the department while on shift. Etter described the officers essentially living at the department during their shift, touting the department’s full kitchen, sleeping and showering quarters, cable television, and internet for the officers to use.

Etter cited a small agency in the state of Washington that has successfully implemented the rotation. The small department of Kittitas Washington switched to the 48 hours on 96 hours off rotation earlier this year to provide 24-hour patrol coverage and have more time off for their officers. The City of Jonesville stated in the job post that they focus on officer wellness and family time with this new schedule. Etter and the City of Jonesville believe the 96 hours off duty time allows for more downtime with families instead of having officer workday, swing, and or night shifts 4 to 5 days per week.

The city of Jonesville currently has one officer per shift who provide patrol coverage for a city of just over 2000 residents. Etter believes the flexibility of this schedule allows small agencies such as his to compete with larger agencies for the same small group of applicants due to the downtime it will enable.