Brentwood Police officers will begin working 12-hour shifts in 2020, as borough leaders entered into an agreement on Jan. 6 with the department that allows them to pilot an overhaul in scheduling in the new year.
“What’s attractive about it is the unity in command,” said Police Chief Adam Zeppuhar.
In the last several months, Brentwood police have promoted three officers to sergeant, the latest being Officer Josh Scott on Jan. 6.
In September, officers William Meisel and John Skrip were promoted to sergeant. They join Sgt. Matthew DeLallo to round out the team of four sergeants in the department, each of which will lead a team of officers on their given shifts.
With the change, every officer on the team has the same schedule, including the sergeant, Zeppuhar said. That means that officers will work continuously with the same sergeant.
“With this, there are more clear channels of communication,” the chief said.
The hope is that it also improves officer quality of life, as officers will be given every other weekend off.
“The selling point for us was that there would be more coverage, or more police officers on duty at any given time,” borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. “We’re thinking this may be a benefit for the officers and for the residents.”
Leaders used schedules from numerous other departments as models, Zboyovsky said.
Council members on Jan. 6 during their reorganization meeting approved a memorandum of understanding with the police associated with the current collective bargaining agreement that allows for the change in scheduling.
Both sides agreed to meet monthly to discuss how the changes are working out, Zboyovsky said. Either side can opt to end the schedule change with a 30-day notice.
It’s too early to tell how this could affect overtime and court hours for officers, Zeppuhar said.
The change in scheduling comes as police and borough leaders are in the midst of contract negotiations. The officers’ previous contract expired at the end of 2019. They are working under the terms of that contract until a new agreement is reached, Zboyovsky said.
Negotiations began between the two parties in October.
“We’re close,” Zboyovsky said.
Sticking points include issues with language in the contract, the manager said.