State lawmakers are being asked to approve a bill that would ok a major change for staffing the Shreveport Patrol Division.

The bill, sponsored by State Representative Alan Seabaugh "authorizes the Shreveport police chief to establish a two-platoon system for employees of the city's police department."

Right now, any city with a population over 50,000 people is required to divide the members of its police force into 3 platoons. This essentially means 3-8 hour shifts each day. The change would allow SPD to have 2 platoons, or 2-12 hour shifts per day.

As explained to me by Seabaugh, the goal is to have more officers on patrol. For instance, if you have 300 officers and you divide into 3 platoons, you would have 100 officers on duty each hour. But under the 2 platoon system, you divide that same 300 by just 2 shifts and you would have 150 officers on duty every hour.

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The current law would not change for other cities, but it would make an exception for the city of Shreveport. But the law would not change the requirement that any officer who works more than 40 hours a week would have to be paid at 1-1/2 times their normal salary for each hour worked over 40 hours in that week. As to how Shreveport officers would staff this new system, Chief Ben Raymond will have to map out a plan if this bill passes in Baton Rouge. The Chief would not be required to switch to the 2-platoon system. But he would have the legal authority to do so.

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