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Brownsville Patrol Officers Upset with Schedule Change

4 years 10 months 5 days ago Thursday, December 22 2016 Dec 22, 2016 December 22, 2016 9:19 PM December 22, 2016 in News

BROWNSVILLE - Many Brownsville police officers are at odds with their police chief over some recent schedule changes.

Brownsville Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS he reverted back to the five-day work week. Patrol officers currently work eight hours a day, five days a week and take two days off.

For the past four years, Brownsville officers on patrol had been working four days a week, 10 hour a day and three days off. Chief Rodriguez said that is not working.

“There was actually gaps in the day when we were too short-handed. We didn’t have enough coverage. Officers were really stretched thin having to cover multiple areas versus their own,” he said.

Many of the Brownsville police officer association members said they’re upset over the change. They decided to gather at city hall this week to voice their displeasure. They also received support from Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

Brownsville Police Association president Todd Harris said the chief didn’t offer any legitimate data to the change.

“He just arbitrarily, without any scientific data or anything else - saying it’s going to benefit the citizens of Brownsville - decided to punish the officers for not agreeing with him on something and changed their work schedule,” he said.

The association’s vice president, Robert Taylor, added the old schedule allowed officers more time to decompress. He argued that leads to better rested police officers, physically and mentally.

“It benefits the mental health, the mental awareness. When that police officer comes back to work after those three days off, they are energized and they are ready to do the good things that the citizens of Brownsville require them to do,” he said.

Chief Rodriguez said the 4/10 method was causing safety vulnerabilities for the city at certain times of the day.

“Under a 4/10 plan, you have four different sets of schedules. So you tend to be heavy during the evening hours, which is a luxury. But what you sacrifice is presence during the morning hours,” he explained. “By going back to strength in numbers, by going back to 5/8s, we have solid numbers 24/7, seven days a week.”

The head of the Brownsville Police Department also said there was a lower number of officers available each day to cover shifts for officers that called in sick or were assigned to special cases.

But the officers weren’t convinced. They claimed the 4/10 schedules left no time of the day unattended.

Taylor said they plan to compile scientific data and present it to a district judge. He said the 4/10 compressed work week is the right thing for citizens of Brownsville.

Chief Rodriguez said he doesn’t discredit the possibility of revisiting the issue. He said an additional 25 officers, on top of the current 254 officers are needed to make the 4/10 system work. For now, he said they will remain on the new patrol schedule. 

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