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Right on Schedule: Time-Saving Software Makes Scheduling and Managing Time Off No Sweat

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 35 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 62,64,67
Pamela Mills-Senn
Date Published
March 2008
5 pages
This article describes the features of state-of-the-art software designed to streamline the process of making police shift assignments and managing related tasks, such as tracking time off, sick time, vacation time and vacation requests, assigning and managing overtime, ensuring adequate coverage, making special-duty assignments, and more.
This new software has enabled the Peoria Police Department (Illinois) to automate and standardize scheduling practices throughout the agency. In addition to enabling the creation of schedules in seconds, each shift can tailor its schedule to the personnel's specific needs, although the format is constant across the organization. The software also provides the ability to query the data and produce a variety of reports previously unavailable. Visual cues indicate adequate or inadequate staffing, and last-minute changes are made and noted in seconds. Officers and employees can log onto the system in order to check schedules, request leave time or overtime, and verify whether such requests have been approved or denied. Scheduling software for law enforcement comes at a variety of costs and complexities. Agencies with limited resources can obtain scheduling software for a fraction of the cost of the high-end programs. The benefits of improved productivity and efficiency make purchasing such software a cost-savings in the long run. Scheduling software programs vary in their training requirements depending on design, but most reports indicate that the learning curve required is not unreasonable.