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Sudbury police officers test-drive new 12-hour shift schedule

Police officers in Sudbury are on a new schedule this week — one that involves longer hours.
Police in Sudbury are on a new schedule this week. They are now working a 12-hour shift schedule. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Police officers in Sudbury are on a new schedule this week — one that involves longer hours.

Officers will now work 12-hour shifts, up from the 10-hour schedule the force has used for the last 40 years.

In exchange, officers will be getting more regular sleep. Under the former schedule system, officers had to work seven night shifts in a row, every five weeks.

Inspector Sheilah Weber said the new schedule will also put more focus on officers being available during peak times.

"It was determined that the current schedule we were on wasn't working for everybody,” she said.

“We weren't able to respond to calls in a timely fashion because we weren't putting the right resources on the road at the right times."

Under the old schedule, officers work day shifts, afternoon shifts and night shifts.

'You body turns upside down'

The seven night shifts in a row were gruelling for officers.

"When you finally got the end of your seven nights, it was a long stretch,” said staff sergeant Rick Waugh.

“Plus you were switching from days to nights, so your body turns upside down."

The new schedule, which drops the afternoon shifts, is considered a pilot project.

"This schedule is in place as a test agreement. It's going to take time to see how the membership likes it,” Waugh said.

Officers voted in the new shift schedule by an overwhelming 90 per cent.

The Sudbury Police Association’s Randy Buchowski said the new schedule should mean better results from the police force.

"I think if you make a happy workplace, you're going to have happy officers, better morale, and it will be reflected in how they do their job."

The new schedule started on Wednesday.

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