Phoenix officers debate moving to 5-day, 8-hour week - New York News

Phoenix officers debate moving to 5-day, 8-hour week

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PHOENIX -

A plan to change the schedules of hundreds of Phoenix Police officers is drawing plenty of criticism from officers.

Tuesday, the new chief and city leaders met with officers and heard their concerns.

Right now, most Phoenix officers work four 10-hour shifts. This new pilot program will switch hundreds of officers to a 5 day workweek.

We were not allowed inside the meeting. It was standing room only. So many officers and their family members showed up, they couldn't even fit in the meeting room.

"They were responding more as politicians, more than as a person and talking to us actually as employees," said Phoenix Police Officer Charles Puma.

Charles Puma has been on the force for 6 years. He works the overnight shift. He and his wife don't want any changes.

"I think that if they really heard they would hear the outcry from the families that are being affected. But if he was a single guy, yeah it wouldn't affect much, but he is not. He has a family," said Kristin Puma, Charles' wife.

The change is expected to affect hundreds of officers.

"The fact is anytime you are changing shifts it is a hardship, it represents a hardship from a policing standpoint but from a personal standpoint. If it is important to them, it is important to me," said Police Chief Daniel Garcia.

Since becoming chief less than a year ago, Daniel Garcia has made some changes that haven't sat well with rank and file officers -- like mandating that officers wear more traditional uniforms that some claim only make the summer heat worse. The chief says this latest plan is about better service.

"We are public servants and it is our job to give the citizens the best it can always be. Not if it is good enough right now. That is not good enough. We always have to provide the best service. That is what we are committed to do. That is what we take an oath to do and that is what we are going to look at," said Garcia.

The meeting was organized by the police union.

"We have a system in place that has worked for 30 years and doesn't appear to be broken and I am not even sure why we are having this discussion," said Joe Clure, spokesperson for Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

"What you see here is a level of frustration from not only the rank and file police officers, but from the sergeants and lieutenants as well as their spouses, the community all voiced great concern about this proposed move."

The chief says appreciate all the feedback and is open to dialogue. It is not clear yet if anything that happened today changed his mind.

As it stands now, the pilot program will begin in May.

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