Atlantic City police could soon go to four-day workweeks that would extend daily hours and put more manpower in key areas, officials say.
The move to 10-hour workdays would require some changes to the current police union contract, as well as a vote by the PBA members and a meeting that would include the city solicitor, Public Safety Director Will Glass said.
"There are still additional steps that need to be taken, and one of those steps is conferring with the rank and file," police Chief Ernest Jubilee said.
Having three shifts of officers working 10 hours rather than the current eight-hour shifts would put more police on the streets at peak times, Glass said.
The department has long talked about the possible switch, and a study by the Washington, D.C.-based Police Foundation - funded by the Ford Foundation - advised them that it would work more efficiently, Jubilee said.
Glass estimated the alternate work schedule could save the city $150,000 to $300,000 by cutting overtime, including the money paid to officers on the night shift who have to make daytime court appearances.
"This would be the most significant change we've done in patrol since we went to one-man cars (in the early 1980s)," said Glass, who's retired from the department.
He was one of the first in that test group - then known as "echo" - at a time when all city patrol cars had two officers.
PBA President Paul Barbere said he has heard mixed feedback from officers on the possible change.
"You're going to change a good part of the way people are living," he said.
Some have raised concerns such as child care, while others have said they would like the extra day off.
"It's kind of a mixed bag right now," Barbere said. "Everyone's kind of holding back judgment until all the pieces are in place."
That would include making sure there are enough patrol cars for the extra officers on duty.
The move has the backing of Mayor Lorenzo Langford, Glass said, and could be implemented quickly once all the necessary approvals are made.
"It's one of many solutions that we could implement," Jubilee said. "It's something that I want to do."
But he stressed that everything is tentative pending the agreements necessary for the move.
"Discussions have been going on for a while," Barbere said. "We're happy it's not something that's going to be rushed into lightly."
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