Phoenix police chief suspends changes to work shifts - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

UPDATE

Phoenix police chief suspends changes to work shifts

Sgt. Sean Mattson, the president of Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association, says a change in shifts is "disheartening, demoralizing." (Source: CBS 5 News) Sgt. Sean Mattson, the president of Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association, says a change in shifts is "disheartening, demoralizing." (Source: CBS 5 News)
Chief Daniel Garcia's proposed budget changes are intended to save money, but the unions counter it will actually cost more in overtime. (Source: CBS 5 News) Chief Daniel Garcia's proposed budget changes are intended to save money, but the unions counter it will actually cost more in overtime. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Both Phoenix police unions have questions about proposed budget changes in their department. (Source: CBS 5 News) Both Phoenix police unions have questions about proposed budget changes in their department. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Phoenix police Chief Daniel Garcia has suspended his controversial plan to switch all officers to five-day work weeks.

It comes after Tuesday's heated meeting with the department and the police unions.

The Phoenix Police Department is faced with making millions of dollars in cuts and a number of departmental changes in the face of a pending city budget crunch.

In a two-minute video shown last week, Chief Daniel Garcia warns his employees that changes are coming.

"As the largest city department with the most expense, we must do our part," Garcia said in his presentation.

But on Wednesday, Garcia announced that he decided to stop any schedule changes for the time being. Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said a memo was sent out to employees to let them know. Holmes told CBS 5 News he was not told why Garcia made this decision.

The changes included a pilot program that converts work schedules from four 10-hour shifts a week to a 1985 model with five eight-hour shifts that some officers are already working.

It's a widely unpopular move, according to two Phoenix police unions, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association.

"I think it's disheartening, demoralizing," said Sgt. Sean Mattson, the president of PPLSA. "The four 10s is kind of the last golden nugget, the last thing that motivates people in patrol," he said of the desirable schedule.

Mattson said Garcia's schedule change proposes to get more officers on the street, yet it removes three sergeants and 10 officers from the Estrella Mountain Precinct, the first tapped to roll out the new pilot program.

At the same time, the new hours are also aimed at saving the department money.  

So far, there's no proof of either of those claims, Mattson said.

"If you can legitimately establish how the money is saving, how we are putting more cops out on the street, that's something that nobody can argue," he said.

In fact, a recent study published in the International Association of Chiefs of Police shows the move to five eight-hour days can generate five times as much overtime as four 10-hour shifts, so it's not clear how money will be saved.

The unions were also concerned about reducing staffing levels at peak demand times.

"It plateaus the staffing level so 24/7 it's the same number of officers out on the street, when I think that you need more officers at 11 at night than you do at 3 in the afternoon," Mattson said.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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