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7 Different 12 Hour Shift Schedule Examples to Cover Round the Clock

12-hour shifts are pretty common in 24-hour agencies. We found that approximately 41% of law enforcement departments that use PlanIt, schedule with 12-hour shifts. 

While they do seem to make scheduling easier, they are not always the best for the officers.


When we went through and evaluated different scheduling trends, we found 7 consistent 12-hour shift schedules.

Too much information? Check out the Top 3 12-Hour Shift Schedules to help you narrow down your options.

The seven 12 hour shift schedule examples are:

  1. [2 on 3 off] [2 on 2 off] [3 on 2 off]
  2. [4 on 3 off] [3 on 4 off] and [3 on 3 off] [4 on 4 off]
  3. [4 on 4 off]
  4. [5 on 5 off] [2 on 2 off] [5 on 2 off] [2 on 5 off]
  5. [2 on 2 off x2] [3 on 2 off] [2 on 4 off] [2 on 2 off] [3 on 2 off]
  6. [2 on 2 off] [4 on 2 off x2] [2 on 4 off x2]
  7. [3 on 3 off]


1.) [2 on 3 off] [2 on 2 off] [3 on 2 off]

This schedule is very common in departments throughout Pennsylvania. 

We have found, however, that it is used all over the country and in many different industries.

The [2 on 3 off] [2 on 2 off] [3 on 2 off] is also known as the Pitman schedule and allows for officers to have every other weekend off.

It requires 2 squads with 2 templates each. 

The templates are only 2 weeks here but they may be extended for different variations.

Pitman Template 1

Pitman Template 2

These 2 would cover the day squad, and then you need to make 2 more templates of basically the same thing but night shift instead of day.

This will cover your 24x7 requirement.


View these examples in more detail in a PDF here


2.) [4 on 3 off] [3 on 4 off] and [3 on 3 off] [4 on 4 off]

The way this rotation works is a lot simpler than it may sound.

You only use 2, 2-week templates and 2 squads.

Similar to the first example. 

Departments anywhere from 25-175 people have used this schedule. 

The two 12 hour shift schedule templates below show the first/day squad.

Day Squad 1 - 12 Hour Shifts

 Day Squad 2 - 12 Hour Shifts

You would complete this schedule for your department by copying these two templates to make the second squad.

They will work the same days but on the night shift instead of day to cover round the clock.


3.) [4 on 4 off]

4 on 4 off is sometimes used with 10-hour shifts but most times we see it used with 12-hour shifts.

It depends on a few different things like your payroll cycle, overtime hours, etc. 

This template runs 8-weeks and requires 2 templates per squad. 

You only need 2 squads, because with 12-hour shifts, its only day and night shift.

4 on 4 off - 4.1

 4 on 4 off - 4.2


4 on 4 off - 4.3

4 on 4 off - 4.4

 These 2 templates represent the day squad. You will need to copy them for the night squad to cover 24x7.



4.) [5 on 5 off] [2 on 2 off] and [5 on 2 off] [2 on 5 off]

We have seen this rotation used in departments sized 50-75 people.

It requires 2 different templates and 2 squads. One squad on days and one squad on nights. 

The two templates below show the rotation.

Sq. 1 = [5 on 5 off] [2 on 2 off]

5 on 2 off Sq 1

Squad 2 = [5 on 2 off] [2 on 5 off]

5 on 2 off Sq 2

Repeat these 2 templates with night shifts to create the second squad.



5.) [2 on 2 off x2] [3 on 2 off] [2 on 4 off] [2 on 2 off] [3 on 2 off]

This schedule is a little different.

So, instead of a night shift/squad and a day shift/squad, everyone works both. 

The template runs for 4 weeks, rotating every 2 weeks between nights and days.

This schedule was used in departments sized 25-50 people. 

2 on 2 off - 12 hour- 1

2 on 2 off - 12 hour- 2

2 on 2 off - 12 hour- 3

2 on 2 off - 12 hour- 4

 Confused? Download the PDF of these schedules so you can print it out & analyze it further.



6.) [2 on 2 off] [4 on 2 off x2] [2 on 4 off x2]

This schedule is a little simpler than the last one.

It has 2 templates and requires a night and day squad. 

The templates last 4 weeks and allow for each officer to have 2 weekends off every month.

2on 2off 4on 2 off - 12 hr - 1

2on 2off 4on 2 off - 12 hr - 2

 To complete this schedule you will need to create 2 more templates covering the night shift. 



7.) [3 on 3 off]

This rotation is very simple - work 3 days, off 3 days.

It is composed of 2, 6-week templates.

The ones below show the complete day shift squad.

12 hr - 3on 3off

12 hr - 3on 3off - 2

To cover round the clock you will need to create 2 more 6-week templates for the night shift squad.


All these examples are the basic templates and will need some tweaking depending on your department's needs.

These examples were chosen because of the number of departments that used them. We have not tried them out ourselves.

Does your department use another 12-hour shift schedule that is not listed here?

Comment on the pros and cons of your schedule below.

If you have more questions about these schedules contact us today!


Download (for FREE) all seven 12-hour shift schedule examples in a PDF here!

Download 12-Hour Schedule Example PDF

 PlanIt Scheduling Software was built to handle 24x7 personnel schedules like these. PlanIt was created with an EMS and police department so the features are tailored to fit the needs of public safety services. PlanIt will make your schedules more visible which will enhance communication throughout your department. Learn more about scheduling software for your department today!


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About Us

PlanIt Police scheduling software is extremely powerful yet easy-to-use. It is meant to simplify scheduling and enhance communication for law enforcement agencies. PlanIt was developed by Ragnasoft, Inc who have specialized in public safety scheduling solutions for over 10 years.

Contact Us

PO BOX 4903
Lancaster PA 17604
717-925-3908 (fax)
Contact Us
PlanIt Police

PlanIt Police is an online scheduling system for police departments. PlanIt is developed by Ragnasoft, Inc which has specialized in public safety scheduling solutions for over 10 years.

Our Contacts

PO BOX 4903
Lancaster, PA 17604
Phone: 1-866-471-2001
Fax: 1-717-925-3908
Email: sales@planitschedule.com