What is Police Scheduling Software?
What is it?
Police scheduling software is a tool that law enforcement professionals use to schedule their personnel and manage unique day to day scheduling tasks.
The software's main purpose is to streamline personnel scheduling tasks that law enforcement agencies deal with daily. For example - managing overtime hours. Most police departments count any hours out of their normal schedule, as overtime. When an officer works an extra duty shift, they must submit those hours to get compensated. In the past, departments have, for example, used paper forms or submitted the OT hours through email. This then requires the administrator to sort through them, add them to their time sheets/payroll files so they are accounted for when the end of the pay period rolls around.
How do the employees know their hours were approved? What if the form is lost? Are you adding the hours to payroll or to their comp bank for them to use later?
With an overtime feature right inside of a law enforcement scheduling system, it streamlines the whole process and provides visibility for both the officer and administrator.
Who uses law enforcement personnel scheduling systems?
To put it simple - agencies in law enforcement. Such as:
- City Police Departments
- Township Police Departments
- University Police Departments
- State Police Department
- Sheriff's Offices
- Corrections Facilities
- Security Services
All the above organizations have some day-to-day workforce differences. But the majority of their processes are standard for law enforcement. They will almost all need 24/7 staffing coverage. On top of that, a lot of industry specific tasks that we will cover in the next section.
Why does law enforcement need a specific scheduling system just for them?
You may be thinking, "A specific system for the industry is not necessary. We can use the same scheduling systems as restaurants and retailers..."
But in law enforcement, more specifically police departments, you deal with unique daily tasks that take up a lot of time when you don't have a tool to streamline them.
Industry specific tasks like:
- Submitting and approving overtime hours
- Managing minimum staffing
- Posting and filling extra duty/overtime shifts
- Managing overtime fairness lists
- Scheduling court appearances
- Tracking certifications and trainings
- Creating new schedules after shift bids
- Filing and storing vehicle checklists
- Tracking loaned equipment
What does police scheduling software do?
As stated earlier in this article, police scheduling software will streamline personnel scheduling tasks that law enforcement agencies deal with daily. But now we will get into specifics. Systems for police personnel management will handle typical scheduling tasks like:
- Submitting and approving time off
- Shift trades/swaps
- Master schedules
- Schedule editor
- Call offs
- Time sheets
So, these officer scheduling systems will handle the standard functionality listed above but also the industry specific tasks mentioned in the previous section. We will go into more detail below.
Officers will be able to submit overtime hours in the system. If it is a web-based system, they can submit the hours from wherever they are, and administrators can approve the hours from wherever they are. The officer will be able to see and get notified when their hours are approved so it will keep clear communication between both parties involved and make it a seamless process.
You will be able to set your staffing levels in the police scheduling system so that it can notify you in some way when you go below minimum staffing. This is important to reduce staffing errors and ensure you are always covered.
Filling open shifts can be very cumbersome without a system. We have seen some departments hire a whole team of individuals with the sole purpose of getting open shifts filled. They go through a list of people and manually call/email/text each person to find out if they can take the shift or not. This is very inefficient and a huge cost to the departments. Having the open shifts appear in a system that everyone has access to, will allow you to get the shifts filled easier. Learn more about open shift management in police scheduling software here!
A lot of police departments will have rules in place about how they fill open shifts. It could be based on things like first come first serve, seniority, or whoever has worked the least amount of overtime. Sometimes there are multiple factors that come into play. This list of who is up next for an open shift can become very complex when it is based on many factors. Police scheduling software can help you manage these lists online to increase visibility and also handle some of the automation for you.
Schedule court appearances for your officers in a scheduling system. That way, you will know who and when officers are out for court. When you schedule the court appearance it should notify the primary and witness officers with an email. Everyone will be able to see who is out that day for court, so you and the officers know if there is a shortage or anything that needs to be taken care of.
Certifications & Training
Easily keep track of your officers' certifications and training. Public safety focused scheduling systems often have a feature to remind employees and administrators when certifications and trainings are due to expire. One less thing you have to remember!
Once you have your new shift assignments, you want to be able to make scheduling changes and/or create a new schedule easily. Some generic systems are not built to optimize this sort of functionality, assuming their clients will not have to change their master schedules often. Having a system built for law enforcement will simplify the process of reassigning shifts whether you are building the new scheduling out for a month, 3 months, or a whole year at a time.
Vehicle Checklists & Loaned Equipment
Some police scheduling software will allow you to keep track of vehicles and equipment in your system as well. This way, your officers can submit any problems that arise from wherever they are with their smartphone, tablet, etc. So, not only will your whole department have visibility to the schedule, but also vehicle statuses and equipment tracking.
Why do these systems matter to your department?
There are a couple major reasons why online police scheduling software is important for agencies. The first reason is because it increases visibility of the schedule, therefore enhancing communication throughout the department. Officers can view everything that's going on in the department from anywhere on their smartphone.
Another reason it is important is because it will increase employee morale. It gives the officers control to submit their hours for overtime, time off, and have visibility of the schedule. They will no longer feel out of the loop.
Lastly, it keeps everything organized. With little to no effort, your administrators have an audit trail of every action made in the system. They have all the history of schedules, time off, overtime, etc.
Wondering how much police scheduling systems cost?
What is an example of a system agencies use for scheduling officers?
One example is PlanIt Police scheduling software. They developed the system in 2005 with two local public safety departments and now provide scheduling software for hundreds of agencies nationwide. To learn more about their system, please go to www.planitpolice.com.
For a live online overview of the system, request a FREE demonstration today!
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.
Lancaster, PA 17604