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The Impact of Shift Length in Policing on Performance, Health, Quality of Life, Sleep, Fatigue, and Extra-Duty Employment

“Because there are significant policy implications associated with compressed workweeks in law enforcement, there is a great need for an examination of both current national practices with regard to CWWs [compressed workweeks] in law enforcement, as well as the impact of such schedules on performance and safety, health, quality of life, sleep, fatigue, and extra-duty employment (i.e., overtime and off-duty work). In this report, we aim to address this gap by providing both the results of the first comprehensive, randomized experiment of the effects of shift length in policing, as well as descriptive data on current shift practices and trends” (Executive Summary p. 2). Findings reveal that there are no significant differences between 8-, 10-, and 12-hour shifts in regards to work performance, health, or family-work conflict. Those working 10-shifts did comment that they got more sleep and felt they had a better quality of work life than with an 8-hour shift. Those working 12-hours reported more sleepiness and less alertness than working 8-hours. The 10-hour shift appears to be the best option for agencies wanting to go to a CWW.