FLINT, MI — Police this week began implementing parts of the public safety plan that city officials announced last month, putting officers on 12-hour shifts, a move that union leaders are fighting.
“It’s one of those things where, obviously, we’re the most violent city in the nation, we’re already overwhelmed with calls and manpower shortages and now you want us to go four additional hours,” said Kevin Smith president of the Flint police officers union.
“It’s going to make our guys fatigued.”
City leaders said the change makes police operations more efficient.
Chief Alvern Lock said the longer shifts have not posed any patrol problems since being implemented Sunday.
“It’s going pretty good. We don’t have problems right now,” Lock said. “We’ll probably still have some issues that we haven’t foreseen, but nothing we can’t work out.”
He said the extra time off officers get make up for the additional hours they work.
“They end with more time off,” Lock said. “They work longer, but they end up with more time off.”
Flint police last worked 12-hour shifts in 2010 on a trial basis, but switched back to 8-hours due to union objections.
Officials at the time said the longer shifts saved the city thousands in overtime costs.
Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown imposed contract concessions on the police officers union in April, giving the city the ability to place officers on 10- or 12-hour shifts.
Smith said the union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint over the shift change and other forced contract concessions, with a hearing scheduled April 14.