CLAYTON, Mo. — St. Louis County police officers will be working 12-hour shifts starting Christmas Day to deal with its shrinking number of officers.
Chief Ken Gregory sent an email department-wide to officers Friday afternoon announcing the change and asking for officers to “be patient,” as the administration works out “any issues that may come about during this transition.”
He also said he believed the move will put officers in a “safer position with more manpower working together.”
“Over the past year, our department has experienced a number of retirements, officers leaving our agency for other agencies, and officers leaving the police profession all together,” Gregory wrote. “These occurrences are not just happening with our agency, it is happening nationwide within law enforcement. Recruitment has also been a concern for our agency as well. This is also a nationwide concern within law enforcement.
“For quite some time, our authorized numbers have made it difficult to maintain adequate manpower in our patrol areas. For these and other reasons, I along with the Executive Command Staff began looking into 12-hour shifts to better man our precincts. We initiated a pilot program; working 12 hour shifts in the North County and West County precincts. We conducted surveys, three times during the pilot period, in these precincts to learn what we needed to do or not do in order for 12 hours shifts to work for the entire agency. Obviously, working 12-hour shifts, each precinct will have an adequate number of officers to give the precincts better and sufficient manpower to fill beats.”
Officer Adrian Washington said Gregory was unavailable for comment and the department did not have any statements to issue on the matter.
St. Louis County police have beefed up recruitment efforts in recent weeks. The County Council approved a 1 for 1 pay deal to attract experienced officers from other agencies that would base their starting salaries on the number of years they’ve spent at their current department.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said the strategy was a way to “poach” officers from the city’s police department and that she planned to meet with the county police board to express her concerns.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has also offered officers a 1 for 1 pay package.