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Police to stop 12-hour shifts

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Police to stop 12-hour shifts

Detroit chief notes slight crime decrease

March 4, 2004



The Detroit Police Department will end its recently extended 12-hour shifts for patrol officers March 15, the city's police chief announced Wednesday.

Since Feb. 23, the department's approximately 2,000 patrol officers have worked an extra four hours a day in response to a rash of crime. So far this year, there have been 63 homicides in the city, including the fatal shootings of two police officers Feb. 16. In recent years, Detroit has averaged about one homicide a day.

When the longer shifts were first announced, Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said having more officers on the street would help deter crime.

On Wednesday, she said preliminary statistics showed officers made more arrests and crime went down. But the chief said she didn't have exact numbers because the statistics were not complete. A more complete assessment of the statistics will be done after March 15, she said.

The extended shifts were controversial. Officers and citizens worried that the officers would suffer fatigue. Others worried about the overtime costs.

In announcing the 12-hour schedules, Walter Shoulders, Detroit police assistant chief for operations, promised it would be a short-term change. Some officers said they understood the need for the longer shifts.

However, last week the Detroit Police Officers Association unsuccessfully sought a court injunction to stop the change.

DPOA President Marty Bandemer said the union filed a grievance with a labor arbitrator and an unfair labor practice charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission last week, saying the city violated the union contract.

Bandemer said the union would still fight any effort to reinstitute the longer shifts, which Bully-Cummings said she may do.

Both Bandemer and the chief said the department needs more officers. The chief said the department is aggressively recruiting new officers and that an academy class will graduate later this month.

"They don't think anything about spending billions of dollars on a new headquarters, but if they don't hire some officers, they're not going to be able to fill it," Bandemer said.

Contact NANCY A. YOUSSEF at 313-222-6672 or [email protected] Staff writer Ben Schmitt contributed to this report.

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