Politics

A legislative panel has passed a bill that would allow Louisville Metro Police officers to work more than 40 hours a week without being paid overtime.

If the law passes, the officers would be paid overtime only if they work greater than 80 hours in two weeks.

The bill was brought forward so that Louisville Metro Police can switch to 12-hour shifts for its police officers.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad says that 12 hour shifts will create a more regular schedule and give more days off to police officers.

“I think officers will find themselves spending more time at home, having more time off, being more rested, being less stressed and hopefully more proactive,” Conrad said.

Current law says that officers have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Conrad says that it would cost $1 million per year if Louisville switched to 12-hour shifts without changing the overtime law for police.

According to a staffing study conducted by LMPD last year, 12-hour shifts have been adopted by hundreds of police departments across the country, but they are not without disadvantages. The report stated that officers might find it difficult to make time for training and might be more fatigued.

Under an agreement between Louisville Metro Police and the Fraternal Order of Police chapter for the department, officers would never work more than three 12-hour shifts in a row without taking a day off and would have every other weekend off.

Sgt. Dave Mutchler, the president of River City FOP, said 80 percent of his members voted for the change.

“This 12-hour shift provides a lot of things that will assist officers in their personal lives, allow them to spend more time with their families, and they’re willing to make that trade-off,” Mutchler said.

“Officers will not be working any more than 80 hours in a two-week pay period just like they are now, and if they do they will be provided over-time pay. We’re just providing that one week is less than 40 and one week is a little more.”

Rep. Jim Wayne, a Democrat from Louisville, said he hopes the bill helps officers invest more time in their families and their marriages.

“I’m really encouraged by this. Anything we can do to promote family life I think is really important,” Wayne said.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives.