[3 on 3 off] Schedule Example to Consider For Patrol in Your Department

A classic 24/7 shift rotation of [3 on 3 off] has worked for many Law Enforcement Agencies using 12 hour shifts to cover 24x7.

November 1, 2022

A classic 24/7 shift rotation of [3 on 3 off] has worked for many Law Enforcement Agencies using 12 hour shifts to cover 24x7. If you were wondering about different schedule examples, you've come to the right place.

In this article, we will explore how the [3 on 3 off] rotation works and the different ways you can set up your 12 hour shift schedule.


Departments sized 25-35 have a variety of different ways they schedule. We will only cover one in this article and it can be downloaded and printed at the bottom of the post.

If you're interested in more schedule examples for departments around 25-35 people, click on the link to view the document!

The [3 on 3 off] shift pattern will complete in 6 weeks. But, it can run longer if desired.

Below you can see what a 6-week template would look like.

To get full coverage you will need 2 squads with 2 templates:

 *** What is a template? - a template could be a single employee or a squad of employees working the same shifts. This would depend upon your department size and minimum staffing levels.

Squad 1 - 3 on 3 off - 12 hour shifts-1

Squad 2 - 3 on 3 off - 12 hour shifts

These 4 templates will cover round the clock. Depending on how large your organization is, you may have many people assigned to one template.


If you want to keep the day and night shifts equal throughout your officers, you may consider doing a 12-week rotation with 6 weeks of day shifts and 6 weeks of night shifts. Like this:

12 week - 3 on 3 off - 12 hour shifts (1)

These templates would require another squad with opposite shift times to cover 24x7. So the first 6 weeks would be night shifts, second 6 weeks would be day shifts.

These schedules may lead to more fatigue because officers will have to adjust their sleep schedules every 6 weeks. However, it will give equal allocation between officers of day and night shifts.

You can extend the weeks out more if you'd like to go a longer period before switching shift times. For example, make 12 weeks of day shifts, 12 weeks of night shift.

This may be a better solution to reduce fatigue but will require some work to set up originally.

Evaluate different options and choose what 12 hour shift schedule template fits your department best!

Want to share this schedule example with others? Download and a printer-friendly version of this post below so you can share it with your department!


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