The city said the pilot has decreased overtime costs, and increased department efficiency and employee well-being.
GOLDEN, Colo. — The Golden Police Department has decided to extend a pilot program that changed the number of hours officers and other police staff work each week.
Last summer the department changed their police schedules to 32-hour work weeks, with employees working four days a week. Staff members still received the same benefits and pay, and were still eligible for overtime after working more than 40 hours.
After reviewing data collected over six months, city and department leadership said the pilot has so far been successful in its goals of decreasing overtime costs, increasing department efficiency and employee well-being and has not negatively impacted any public safety. Golden City Manager, Scott Vargo, shared the results of that data during a public meeting Thursday night.
“I feel very good about it,” said Golden Police Chief, Joe Harvey. “I think in terms of the humanistic component of this, the team is extremely happy about it. Lot of reports back about reduced stress, more time with family, we can see more of a positive attitude at work. People are feeling better. It’s a pretty incredible employee wellness component.”
Golden hoped the move to shorter work weeks would also make them a more competitive department for recruiting new employees and retaining current ones. Harvey said the expectation was officers would continue to get the same amount of work done in those 32 hours, requiring the department to find more efficient ways to spend their time in the office and on patrol.
The pilot has now been extended six more months, through July 1, as the city continues to collect data.
Golden shared several data points publicly Thursday night.
The city found overtime costs decreased by 79.3% during the first six months of the pilot project, about $115,000 in cost savings. GPD also reports a 50% reduction in department resignations and retirements early in the pilot process, but cautioned that number could be due to several factors beyond the compressed work week and included too small of a sample to be certain.
Golden also tracked response times. For all calls, on average, they found a general trend of decreased response times. For priority-one calls, they found decreased call times for four of the six months of data.
Golden police staff took surveys once a week that asked how they felt about the program – ranging from 0 to 100. The city said those satisfaction surveys consistently hit the 90% range.
City leaders initially hoped other city departments would try this pilot, too. Thursday night, Vargo said other departments are having conversations about that now and may expand the pilot to include more departments later this spring.
The City of Golden doesn’t plan to make any permanent changes until at least 2025.