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Shift Length Experiment: What We Know About 8-, 10-, and 12-Hour Shifts in Policing

NCJ Number
Date Published
62 pages
Based on research conducted in Arlington, TX, and Detroit, MI, this study compared police officer functioning in relation to shift length (8,10, and 12 hours).
The study found that officers who worked four 10-hour days followed by 3 days off averaged significantly more sleep than those working 8-hour shifts. Officers working the 10-hour shift gained nearly 185 hours of sleep. In addition, these officers worked 80 percent less overtime on the job, potentially resulting in a cost savings to the department as well as a potential cost savings in terms of improved health, possibly due to the increase in hours slept. The study also found that officers working 12-hour shifts reported lower levels of alertness at work and increased sleepiness, although this did not affect actual performance or increase negative outcomes. Results are reported for the following variables: the quality of work life, sleep amount, sleepiness/fatigue (subjective reports of officers), alertness, overtime worked, work performance and safety, health and stress, quality of personal life, sleep quality, fatigue (objective), sleep disorder, and off-duty employment. Significant findings related to quality of work life, sleep amount, sleepiness/fatigue, alertness, and overtime worked. The report also explains what is known about compressed work-weeks in law enforcement compared to other industries. Tables, figures, appendixes, and references

Date Published: January 1, 2011