By Bill Carey
NEW YORK – The NYPD has begun a pilot change program in select areas of the Bronx in an effort to improve morale and mental health and reduce attrition in the ranks.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell addressed the officers at roll call Wednesday morning in the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, one of the first to allow officers to work the new schedule, ABC News reported.
“We recognize that it’s a hardship that you come to work and then you’re told you have to stay extra hours. You have families. You have things in your life that matter that you want to get back to, ” Sewell told the first officers to work a 12-hour shift.
In the six-month pilot program, approximately 400 officers will work 10- and 12-hour shifts. During the 12-hour shift option, officers work three days on and three days off. In the 10-hour option, officers work four days on and two days off.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch praised the flexible schedules in front of the 47th Precinct officers.
“A lot of people said no. Most administrations wouldn’t even talk about it. This administration would. This commissioner said yes. For the next generation of the NYPD, this is going to be the norm,” Lynch said. “You can live your life better. It is important that we talk about your home life. It is important that we talk about the mental health of each and every one of you and your family. Well, today is the start of the real discussion. but more importantly, the right solution.”
The pilot program comes amid a large number of veteran officers retiring or taking jobs in other departments for better pay and benefits. The department is experiencing high overtime costs as the rest of the force cranks up extra hours.