Monday, October 22, 2001
Flexible Work Schedule to Be Fine-Tuned by LAPD, Launched Next Month
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
Mayor James Hahn’s flexible work schedule for the Los Angeles police officers missed his Oct. 20 implementation deadline, but a consultant’s plan approved by the Police Commission Friday will be in place in a month, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.
In a special meeting Friday the commission voted 4-0 to approve the framework for the new deployment schedule created by Police Management Advisors, but decided to leave the last-minute details to the department.
“We’re here to approve this plan that is 95 percent complete,” Commission President Rick Caruso said. “The final tweaking on the remaining five percent will be done by the department.”
The PMA plan will be in place beginning the next department deployment period, which starts Nov. 18, LAPD Comdr. Dan Koenig said. The implementation deadline is just one week after a PMA study on flexible work schedules is due in the City Council.
Hahn had previously set Oct. 20 as his deadline to implement his flexible work schedule in the LAPD’s Central and Hollywood divisions, but spokeswoman Julie Wong said he is not upset about the delay.
“He feels great that the Police Commission approved the template and worked from the front end to address some of the concerns so that it could be rolled out promptly,” Wong said.
George Sullivan, director of PMA, presented the commission with a “template” plan for each of the department’s 18 divisions Friday, but said it is up to the individual supervisors and managers of each division to make it work for their situation.
The department will have until Oct. 25 to work out the details for Central and Hollywood before bringing it back to the commission. The commission will vote on the matter Oct. 30, Caruso said.
“This is a template,” Koenig said. “Now we have to go iron it out and make sure it will work in the real world.”
Sullivan’s plan uses only 10- and 12-hour shifts with nearly 70 percent of patrol officers on 12-hour workdays.
By eliminating traditional 8-hour shifts completely, the PMA plan steps away from the hybrid plan originally presented to the commission by Hahn in September. While Sullivan’s plan relies heavily on the “3-12” workweek, Hahn’s plans for Central and Hollywood had the majority of officers on 10-hour shifts, while incorporating 8-hour and 12-hour workdays for other officers.
Wong said the mayor’s priority is increasing public safety and he is happy PMA’s plan provides even more coverage by the department than his original plan.
She added that it may still be possible for some divisions to have a small number of officers on 8-hour shifts.
Los Angeles Police Protective League President Mitzi Grasso echoed the mayor’s sentiments, saying the new plan “has given us the most concise coverage.”
“It’s great all around,” she said.
While Sullivan told the commission his plan is elastic enough for divisions to make adjustments to the main plan to fit their individual needs, he warned that too much tinkering could leave a division understaffed.
“This offers more flexibility, but if it varies considerably they should have some pretty good managerial justification for doing so,” Sullivan said. “If we add one officer somewhere, that’s one additional officer that can’t be used somewhere else. I think we have to mindful of that.”
Sullivan’s plan is so carefully crafted that between the hours of noon and two in Central he is asking officers not to take their meal break, known as Code 7, during that time in order to meet the workload requirement of 12 patrol cars.
“We would have to have five additional personnel to staff those two hours,” Sullivan said. “If officers could defer their Code 7 time for these two hours or have it before then, it would more than compensate for the additional time.”
Meal break was of concern to Grasso and union Vice President Bob Baker, who proposed a 12-hour, 15-minute shift instead of the 12-hour, 45-minute shift in the PMA plan.
Grasso said she believes that in the end the union will get its proposed shift.
“We’re certainly pushing for it,” Grasso said. “I think it’s realistic.”
Grasso and Baker also expressed a desire to move from a system of bidding for days off to rotating or fixed days off.
Commission Vice President Rose Ochi said she didn’t see the issue as a problem.
“It’s not a deal breaker,” Ochi said.
The department must also work to meet the City Council-Mayor-established standard of 7/40, meaning seven minutes response time to emergency calls and spending 40 percent of the department’s patrol time doing proactive policing.
Under the LAPD’s current 8-hour, five-day work week, the department fails to meet that guideline by 250 officers, LAPD Cmdr. Dan Koenig said.
The PMA plan would cause the department to move even further away from that goal, reducing the number the department is down from 250 to 312, Koenig said.
But if the plan does what is supposed to and help recruit officers, that number will be taken care of, Koenig said.
“You’ve got to start somewhere,” Koenig said, adding that the plan will hopefully make a dent in the nearly 1,200 officer vacancies currently in the LAPD.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company