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Proposed 12-hour shifts for police concern Board of Aldermen

Aldermen worry that the long summer weekend hours could burn out an already short-staffed department.
Credit: ksdk

ST. LOUIS — Police officers in St. Louis City could be working mandatory 12-hour shifts this summer. 

Board of Aldermen members worry about over-working officers in an already strained department, and the effect it could have on recruitment and retention.

"I like superman, but I don't think he really exists," 14th Ward Alderwoman Carol Howard said.

Howard worries that St. Louis Metro Police Department's new weekend shift changes may be too demanding on their officers.

"We are going to 12-hour shifts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer months, just to increase our visibility because we, as you've said, we have difficulty with our staffing retaining people," Lieutenant Colonel Mike Sack said.

Sack responded to those concerns during Thursday's public safety meeting with local leaders.

"We're flexing the afternoon watch and half of the night watch to a 12-hou shift, so we can have 4, maybe 6 officers to hit those mission zones, those areas where the community want visibility," Sack said.

"Officers, because we don't pay them enough, doing extra duty and now you're increasing their hours to 12 hours a day. It concerns me with their safety, and their judgment and their stress level," Howard said.

The department is about 100 patrolmen short. 3rd Ward Alderman Brandon Bosley suggested incentives to help recruit.

"If we can't pay them or give them the loans, at least maybe cut some of the expenses or costs that they deal with," Bosley said.

Chief Hayden responded with ideas that would need to be worked out with the Mayor's office.

"Things that kind of mimic military incentives, benefit packages would be something to compare it to, but again, if there are ways in which officers could live in housing at reduced rates and those types of incentives it would certainly go a long way, and it wouldn't be the first time that the city did that type of thing," Hayden said.

Hayden was hopeful for the progress with their academy graduates. 

The most recent graduates will start patrolling next week, 

The current class graduates by the end of this month, and the next class will begin in September.

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