Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Boeckmann Says Public Must Know Police Schedule Will Affect Service
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The public must be told that implementing a compressed work schedule for the city’s police officers is going to negatively affect some of the services provided by the Los Angeles Police Department that citizens have become used to, Police Commissioner Bert Boeckmann said yesterday.
“I think we will not be providing some of the services they’ve come to expect,” Boeckmann said at yesterday’s Police Commission meeting. “They need to know that ahead of time so they don’t become disappointed with the department and the chief. This isn’t his doing.”
Los Angeles Police Department Police Chief Bernard Parks said putting the new schedule in place will result in a reduction in coverage and numbers of officers in certain gang and vice units. The number of foot patrol officers will also have to be reduced, he said.
“That’s the kind of thing that’s going to be impacted,” Parks said.
Central Division currently has 91 officers assigned to patrol units, but 100 officers are needed to cover the division’s workload under the new schedule revised by the department.
Officers in non-response units within each division will be reassigned to response units to cover the need, LAPD Cmdr. Dan Koenig said.
The reassignment will mean some officers assigned to less critical units will now be in patrol cars and dedicated to more critical department needs, Koenig told the commission.
While Koenig said he didn’t expect to see any change in the department’s response to emergency calls, but there will probably be some fluctuation in the amount of available time officers have.
The Police Commission approved a compressed work schedule for the LAPD two weeks ago.
The plan, designed by outside consultant Police Management Advisors, assigns patrol officers to 10- and 12-hour shifts, while eliminating 8-hour shifts completely.
The plan is set to go into effect in two divisions, Hollywood and Central, at the start of the next deployment period, which begins Nov. 18.
Start times for both divisions were adjusted to accommodate for the specific needs in that area, Koenig said.
Both 12-hour shifts in Hollywood were moved back an hour, from six to seven a.m. and p.m., to accommodate local traffic patterns.
Central’s two 12-hour shifts were moved up an hour, from eight to seven a.m. and p.m., to cut down on the time officers spend commuting to work and put adequate officers on the streets to deal with the morning and evening commutes.
The 10-hour evening shift in Hollywood, originally designed to end at 2 a.m., was also pushed back two hours to have enough officers available to deal with people leaving Hollywood clubs when they close at 2 a.m.
The department’s adjustments added three officers to the 222 set out in PMA’s plan, bringing the grand total needed to implement the new schedule the two divisions to 225.
The department is striving 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.
Boeckmann, who helped to establish the standard as a commissioner, said the department should not look at the standard as a “final resting place.”
“When we set it as a minimum, we hoped in the future the emergency response time would be reduced and the available time would be increased,” Boeckmann said.
Vice President Rose Ochi, who headed the commission’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Flexible Work Schedules, argued a compressed work schedule will bring in more officers to the department, allowing the department to increase coverage in those areas negatively affected by the new schedule.
But Boeckmann countered that it will be about a year before recruits become officers.
“We are going to have a shortage of officers in key areas for the period of time it takes to come up with more officers,” he said.
Koenig maintained a fall implementation was the best time to put the new schedule in place, since fall is when the department has the most number of officers available and the least amount of emergency calls.
“This is the time when adjustments can be made,” Koenig said.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company