Pros and Cons of 10-Hour Shifts for Police Departments

Looking for the perfect shift time for your officers? Its important to consider factors like minimum staffing requirements and officer wellness.

February 7, 2022

10 hour shift schedule in Excel

Looking for the perfect shift time for your officers? Well, the bad news is, there is no "one size fits all." You will have some officers who prefer 8's while others prefer 12's. But what you can do, is break down the important factors that come into play for your department and choose best fit for you. These factors may include things like cost effectiveness, minimum staffing requirements, and officer wellness.

10-hour shift schedules can be a great option that many individuals often come to love. However, there are some downsides to consider. Here we will look into both the pros and cons of 10-hour shifts for law enforcement agencies. 


  • Manageable when it comes to fatigue
  • Employees get an extra day off per week
  • Less time spent on a commute

Manageable when it comes to fatigue

While you are still working more than the average work day of 8 hours, 10 hours can be manageable as well once you get used to it. Typically the 10-hour day is the maximum amount people feel they can stay alert and effective. You will still have time to get some things done after or before work while also getting a good amount of sleep. Sometimes with 12-hour shifts, this can be more difficult.

Employees get and extra day off per week

Since officers are working 10 hours each shift, they only need four shifts to get to 40 hours instead of five 8-hour shifts. This is favorable for employees because they will have a whole extra day to do things like scheduling their personal appointments, hanging out with family, or simply taking a day to relax and recharge.

Less time spent on a commute

If an officer lives 30 minutes from the station, that's an extra hour each day they are away from home. So reducing their schedule from working five days of 8-hour shifts to four days of 10-hour shifts, they save an hour of commuting time and money spent on transportation (gas for car, train ticket, taxi ride, etc.).


  • High stress days
  • Harder to switch shifts, cover, or call off
  • Administrators still have to manage three shift times to cover 24x7

High stress days

As you know, policing work can be extremely high stress some days. If it is one of those days where you get one call after the other, a 10-hour day can be exhausting. Employees will need to find ways to recharge. Whether its a coffee break, a healthy snack, or just taking a minute to sit down, you should be prepared for these kind of days and allow officers the moment to rest and recharge when possible.

Harder to switch shifts, cover, or call off

Longer shifts create more of a commitment. So, when someone calls out, finding someone to cover a 10-hour shift as opposed to an 8-hour, is often more difficult. If everyone already has their four 10-hour shifts, adding another one can be quite costly as it is now 10 hours of overtime. 

Administrators still have to manage three shift times to cover 24x7

When you are scheduling with 12-hour shifts, you only have to manage two shift times per day. With 10-hour shifts, you still have 3 shift times to manage. There will also be some overlap of hours that can be costly if you don't manage it appropriately. Since you need to cover 24x7 that swing/mid shift will overlap with day shift and/or night shift.

Need software to manage your 24x7 rotating schedules?

PowerTime scheduling software will allow you to create rotating schedules for as far out into the future as you need while also providing the tools to easily make day-to-day edits. Click on the button below to learn more!

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