Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies are working under a new schedule that should soon free them up for more training.
County commissioners approved a change Wednesday to a labor contract for about 20 deputies that will move them to 12-hour shifts from their current four-day weeks of 10 hours a day.
The 12-hour shifts are used by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Hanford Patrol and Richland police, said Sheriff Jim Raymond.
“Most of the law enforcement agencies work on 12-hour shifts,” he said. “All it is is a coordinated effort to build in a training day.”
Half of the deputies will now work only Wednesday and Thursday in a given week, with the other half working every day but Wednesday and Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Janet Taylor told commissioners. They will then switch days the following week.
The change would technically give deputies 168 hours of work each month before they collect overtime. That’s up from the current 160 hours.
But they will take one 12-hour shift off each month, Taylor explained. Every two months they would take eight hours for a training day, bringing them back to an average of 160 hours a month.
Commissioners were pleased that deputy hours and total payroll ended up the same.
“From my perspective, it puts more emphasis on training and makes a more predictable, regular schedule,” said commission Chairman Brad Peck.
Taylor said deputies had asked for the change under a previous sheriff’s department administration but the proposal did not go anywhere.
The new schedule started Wednesday, Raymond said.