Impact of Shift Length in Policing on Performance, Health, Quality of Life, Sleep, Fatigue, and Extra-Duty Employment [open pdf - 12MB]
"Most law enforcement agencies have traditionally deployed their patrol officers based on a 40-hour workweek in which personnel work five consecutive, 8-hour shifts, followed by two days off. In recent years, however, an increasing number of agencies have moved to some variant of a compressed workweek (CWW) schedule in which officers work four 10-hour shifts per week or three 12-hour shifts (plus a time adjustment to make up the remaining 4 hours of the standard 40-hour workweek). While this trend towards CWWs has been moving apace, there have been few, if any, rigorous scientific studies examining the advantages and disadvantages associated with these work schedules for officers and their agencies. In this report, we present data on the prevalence of CWWs in American law enforcement in recent years and provide results from the first known comprehensive randomized experiment exploring the effects of shift length (8- vs. 10- vs. 12-hours) on work performance, safety, health, quality of life, sleep, fatigue, off-duty employment, and overtime usage among police officers. We implemented a randomized block experiment in Detroit (MI) and Arlington (TX), in which the blocks include site (i.e., Detroit, Arlington) as well as shift (day, evening, midnight) in order to examine the effects of the three shift lengths on various outcomes. Work performance was measured using both laboratory simulations and departmental data. Health, quality of life, sleep, sleepiness, off-duty employment, and overtime hours were measured via self-report measures including surveys, sleep diaries, and alertness logs. Fatigue was measured using both objective, laboratory-based instruments, and subjective reports of sleepiness."
National Criminal Justice Report No. 237330; NCJ 237330
National Criminal Justice Reference Center: https://www.ncjrs.gov/