By Christen Reuter

Globe Staff Writer

WEBB CITY, Mo. - Police Chief Don Richardson said he has rearranged schedules to allow more officers to patrol the streets during peak traffic times.

Weekly schedules for patrol officers will change from five eight-hour days to four 10-hour days starting March 15, he said.

The current eight-hour shifts do not give patrol officers time to investigate each call and fill out the required paperwork during a single shift, Richardson said.

"Because of the increase in the population and the large number of people traveling on Madison (Avenue), there has been an increase in things for our officers to do," Richardson said. "We have been spread thin."

Employees are entitled to compensatory time off for any extra time worked. That, along with sick days and vacation time, occasionally has left the city with two officers on the street at any given time, Richardson said.

"Most of the time when an officer is on duty, he has two or three calls waiting for him when he gets there," Richardson said. "When it is time to go home, he is still doing paperwork."

The change will allow the department to place as many as six officers in high-traffic areas during peak times, which have been determined based on traffic surveys. For example, residents are likely to see more patrol cars on Madison Avenue during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The switch to 10-hour days will affect only the city's 15 patrol officers. Their salary structure will remain the same.

"This should quicken an already good response time," Richardson said. "It will be a big plus for us."

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