SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Caddo sheriff’s deputies now are working longer shifts when they hit the streets.
This week, patrol deputies begin a new schedule that changes their eight-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts.
And they get longer weekends when they have time off.
“By going to a 12-hour shift, we’re actually able to do more," Sheriff Steve Prator said. "It’s like putting more bodies out there when you look at full-time equivalents and the formula you use.”
The change will help deal with the short staffing, the sheriff said, noting that his office has 47 vacancies.
“Our trend we are seeing is that we’ve gotten so shorthanded that its almost critical."
Crime in Caddo Parish is lower than it’s ever been, even with the lowest staff the Sheriff’s Office has ever had, Prator said.
The new hours keep up the sheriff’s presence in the parish so citizens feel safe, the sheriff said.
The schedule change also lets deputies ride through Shreveport neighborhoods more often, Prator added.
Shreveport Police Department is providing Prator with crime statistics that he can pass on to his patrol deputies.
“Going to a 12-hour shift on patrol will give more coverage to citizens in the parish," the sheriff explained.
"And it will also allow us to do some special operations. And we’ll be going more and more into Shreveport working general patrol or special operations there.”
Prator said his office will monitor the shift change to ensure deputies don’t get worn out.
“So far, it’s been good with what we’ve seen as far as productivity."
In addition to new schedules, deputies will wear more comfortable and casual uniforms.
Their wardrobe also includes new body cameras now being rolled out to each deputy who regularly interacts with the public.
Cameras in vehicles also are being updated and replaced.
“We’re constantly changing and improving with the Number One goal of serving the public,” Prator said.