Bill to change work shifts for SPD officers withdrawn at request of Chief Ben Raymond

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A bill that would have changed the shifts of all Shreveport police officers to a 12-hour system has been withdrawn after it was passed by Louisiana’s House in May.

According to the Shreveport Police Officer’s Association, State Representative Alan Seabaugh of District 5 intends to withdraw HB 121 at the request of Chief Ben Raymond. This comes nearly two weeks after the House overwhelmingly passed the measure by a 73-16 vote on Tuesday, May 19.

The bill set a precedent at the state level for Shreveport’s police chief to potentially establish a 12-hour shift system. At the time of the vote, officers with the Shreveport Police Department were working eight-hour shifts.

“Our members are content that we will resolve these issues at the local level,” SPOA said in a released statement on Facebook Saturday morning.

“We would like to thank LA House Representative Tammy Phelps for her assistance and also Senator Greg Tarver for his assistance and support of SPOA and their position. We will issue a formal letter of appreciation to Representative Seabaugh publicly when the HB 121 has been formally withdrawn. We would like to thank all citizens and colleagues that supported our cause.”

Chief Raymond released a statement Tuesday, sharing more details on why he decided to request the withdrawal of the bill.

“I approached Representative Seabaugh about sponsoring a bill which would allow the Chief of Police to consider a 12-hour shift option for our department,” said Chief Raymond.

“Currently, there are statutory limitations to my ability to make changes to our shift schedule and I believed decisions affecting the efficient operation of the police department are best made at the local level, not [the] state level.”

The intent of considering 12-hour shifts was to prevent officers from working mandatory overtime, a practice that has been in place since August 2020, and will continue for the foreseeable future due to manpower shortages.  Raymond said moving to a 12-hour shift schedule would have prevented mandatory overtime at our current staffing.

“After further discussion with our officers regarding HB 121, I reached out to Representative Alan Seabaugh and asked if he would withdraw the bill at this time,” said Chief Raymond. 

“The possibility of moving to a 12-hour shift schedule is a big change for our department and some of the men and women who would be most affected by the transition were not ready to move in that direction.  We will continue to work with the citizens and our officers to make decisions in the best interest of everyone involved.  I want to express my gratitude to Representative Seabaugh for his support of our law enforcement officers.  I also want to express my disappointment for the lack of professionalism shown by some of the opposition.” 

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