3. Record & Analyze
According to a survey made by the National Institute of Justice, only 38% of police departments in the US are able to account for the number of overtime hours worked annually. This number is astounding if you think about it. Imagine being the CEO of a company and not knowing your annual profit and loss statement!
In order to properly manage your budget, there needs to be a system in place for collecting and reporting data. How else will you be able to know which type of activities and/or units within your department are contributing to overtime? An example of how this information can be useful is if you see lots of OT being used by a specific unit on an annual basis, it could be an indication that you need to hire more officers.
Or, it could be a supervision issue, where some supervisors are allowing employees to extend their shift to write reports on overtime, while others have the reports held until the employee’s next shift. The point is that reporting can help you identify issues and allow you to take appropriate action.
It’s also worth mentioning that spreadsheets are NOT ideal. They are great for organizing your personal expenses during tax season, but they should not be used for scheduling your department for several reasons:
Information is not easily shared between supervisors
There is no accountability for changes in the schedule
It requires slow manual processes that are prone to human error, such as collecting paper slips
Emailing and following up with employees regarding shift changes and postings can be a full time job