October 24, 2023 min read
How Police Scheduling Software Reduces the Burden of Staffing Shortages
At law enforcement agencies around the country, police staffing shortages have become an unfortunately common challenge, leaving those on the force scrambling to maintain operational efficiency. Increased public scrutiny, the still-lingering effects of policing during the pandemic, and other factors continue to contribute to this ongoing problem.
According to a recent study conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), an independent research organization that focuses on critical issues in policing, hiring has increased in comparison to previous years, but agencies continue to lose more officers than they hire, and total sworn staffing has continued to decline. The survey of 182 police agencies nationwide found that in 2022, total sworn staffing was 4.8% lower than in January 2020. In 2022, agencies saw a 47% increase in resignations and a 19% increase in retirements compared to 2019.
All combined, fulfilling minimum staffing levels across the agency has become increasingly complex and for an industry that works 24/7, 365 days a year—it’s pushed many departments to the brink.
But in the face of these challenges, there is a tool that can help: Vector Scheduling for law enforcement. A scheduling software can’t magically fix your staffing issues overnight, but it can alleviate the administrative burdens associated with short staffing and help your agency meet the needs of your community despite being short of officers.
Vector’s Law Enforcement Scheduling Software Replaces Cumbersome Paper and Spreadsheet Processes
Paper schedules or Excel spreadsheets simply can’t keep up with the complex scheduling challenges today’s law enforcement agencies face.
Regardless of whether you’re at the station on your desktop computer, logging in via browser on a laptop, or checking your cellphone between calls while on patrol, this law enforcement scheduling software and its mobile app allows administrators and officers to access critical scheduling information from anywhere. Officers can check and review upcoming shifts, respond to callbacks, check vacation balances, and submit time-off requests all from their mobile device.
Administrators can also build in limits, buffers, and rest periods to ensure compliance with agency or union policies instead of having to manually review schedules to look for individuals who may have too many hours. The built-in fatigue tracker can also help identify personnel who need time off, especially after a critical incident or other event exposures.
- Ensure Coverage Across Shifts and Skill Sets – With at-a-glance dashboards to quickly identify gaps, and rules-based logic that only schedules those qualified for the shift and skill set, this law enforcement scheduling software ensures you have the right mix of talent for every shift.
- Streamline Employee Scheduling – Oversee shifts from the mobile application or any web-enabled device. Easily make schedule adjustments using the intuitive dashboard and view changes in real time.
- Manage Backfill & Time Off – Intelligent rules automate callbacks and filter responses based on qualifiers. Agencies can customize how officers are notified of callback opportunities with flexible tools and can base request approvals or denials on automated qualifiers.
- Utilize Reports to Find Trends – Track data and export reports for payroll, overtime hours, callbacks, and more. Get notified when individual officers may be exceeding overtime policies and mitigate fatigue-related incidents. Maintain historical records of current and past officers to meet union and labor regulations and support staffing or budget requests.
Customizable and Intelligent Police Scheduling Software
Instead of spending hours manually entering in shift information via spreadsheet, administrators can utilize Vector Scheduling’s intelligent rules to automatically eliminate scheduling conflicts, provide more staffing transparency to reduce grievances, and more.
In the event of a critical incident, staff notifications can be quickly distributed via app notification, text, email, or phone call, ensuring that personnel receive the communication immediately. Notices can be sent to an individual employee, specific groups of employees, or even the entire department.
With Vector Scheduling for law enforcement, unexpected shortages or critical incidents can be handled quickly and easily, allowing the focus to remain on the situation at hand, instead of workforce management.
“We had an incident that required pretty much our entire department to come in and we utilized Vector Scheduling to get the word out. It’s been a huge tool for us to get the word out to people quickly if we need to.”
Flower Mound Police Department
Gain Insight With Scheduling Software Built for Public Safety
Beyond annual reports and payroll, shift information can also be utilized to identify staffing trends and localize retention information data.
Vector Scheduling allows administrators to export scheduling data in various formats, as needed by payroll systems or as requested by overseeing entities. Data fields can also be customized, allowing you to select only the data you need, streamlining the process.
By utilizing Vector Scheduling, you can reduce the amount of time spent on manual scheduling tasks and keep the lights on, despite ongoing nationwide police staffing shortages.
Vector Solutions’ suite of industry-leading software solutions for law enforcement also includes online training courses, FTO/PTO/CTO/live skill evaluations, academy automation, equipment and inventory management, and an early intervention and conduct management system.
To learn more about how Vector Scheduling can streamline and simplify scheduling at your agency, please request a demo today.