Down two full-time officers, the Sag Harbor Village Police Department and its officers’ labor unit, the Police Benevolent Association, have reached an emergency agreement to switch policing shifts to 12-hour tours, up from eight hours, for the next four months.
Police Chief Austin J. McGuire said the need arose from the upcoming retirements of one sergeant and one longtime officer and an extended medical leave approved for another. Even though the department recently hired one new officer, she is still in a training phase, said Chief McGuire. Another officer returned last week from medical leave, but the department also recently lost two part-time officers.
“What we were able to work out in such a short period of time is unprecedented,” Chief McGuire said. “You have to have attorneys working it out. With the back and forth that we had, maybe two weeks, we were able to get it done. Normally, it takes years of negotiations to change a duty chart.”
PBA president Nick Samot said the officers were almost unanimous in their vote to move forward with the change. He explained the officers will work days or nights for the first two months, then will switch for the second two months. Day to day, they will work two shifts and then have two off, then have three shifts on and two off, then have two shifts on and three off.
“The PBA definitely understood there was a need to try it out to help the department,” Mr. Samot said.
Chief McGuire said each officer will receive 48 hours of overtime over the course of the four-month period. “In the scheme of things that is not a lot. It is far cheaper than hiring a new officer or attempting to staff the current work chart with overtime,” he said.
The Sag Harbor Village Police Department is budgeted for 12 full-time positions, but currently only have 10. The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved the police department’s agreement with the PBA on Wednesday.