SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A bill introduced in Monday’s legislative session directly relates to the Shreveport police department and its staffing.
State Representative Alan Seabaugh and State Senator Barry Milligan have introduced House Bill 121, a bill that proposes a change in police shifts.
Micheal Carter, who’s the president of the Shreveport Police Officer’s Association opposes the new bill. He said SPD patrol officers and dispatchers already have been working long hours and it will take staff re-allocation to fix the problem, not a legislation.
“We are the ones that cover Shreveport 24 hours a day. We certainly are the ones that should be involved in working out the solution to this problem,” Carter said.
The bill, if passed, would allow city police chiefs to revise any regulations necessary to allow the agency to function properly.
Carter said officials from SPD have already been working 12-hour or more shifts per week, and it’s starting to intervene in their personal lives.
“There is an absolute majority against 12-hour shifts and I’m afraid we are going to lose a lot more police officers if this is forced on them,” Carter said.
Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond, however, on Monday released a statement in support of HB 121.
“I fully support HB 121 and requested the introduction of the bill. The Shreveport Police Department should be in a position to determine the best allocation of its personnel and currently, due to state law, a movement to a 12-hour shift schedule for officers is not an option. Numerous law enforcement agencies and workers in a number of other fields, including healthcare, work 12-hour schedules. Many of our officers work extra jobs and shifts; working 16-hour shifts is no longer uncommon due to our current crisis. The passage of HB 121 in no way dictates we will move to 12-hour shifts, however, being nearly 20% below full-staffing requires thinking outside of the box and the most efficient use of our limited personnel may be to move to a different shift schedule.”
” I’ve had more than 40 workers tell me that they will not put their families through the adjustments of a 12-hour shift. They’re already into forced overtime, and they’re already working additional employment,” Carter said.
Carter said he wants Seabaugh to do away with the legislation, and that he wants to meet with Raymond to find an alternative solution.
“We need to get to the point to where we all sit down and we try to work this problem out together. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s not something that the legislative act is going to fix,” Carter said.
To view the full bill and its process click here.
Carter said they’ve written a letter to Seabaugh and are giving him time to respond before they start campaigning publicly.