Support police in shift change

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Thanks to all who attended the Assembly meeting on Nov. 29. I'm sorry that you only had a piece of the Officers presentation and that they had no opportunity to correct the confusion given to you by city management. We didn't understand what they were saying either. I've been married to a professional police officer for over 18 years and I didn't understand the double talk you received, so I can imagine your confusion.

My husband has worked eight-hour shifts, 10-hour shifts and 12-hour shifts. He presently works eights Monday-Friday, 8-4, like most people in Juneau. That's because he's one of a few that works briefly in a rotating position as a school resource officer.

With this proposed change, he will return to patrol in June, where he will spend two-thirds of the year on swings and graveyards. I thought with his 18 years' experience and seniority he would get at least one scheduled weekend day off with our three small children, but that's not likely for years.

But that's not the most upsetting thing. How it happened is even more offensive. My husband spent an enormous amount of donated time negotiating a labor contract between police officers, community service officers, dispatchers and city management. I could see it was difficult and stressful for him as he worked through the process. I was then shocked when the shifts were changed by the city without talking to the police union.

No one in the city is expected to give so much for the community as police officers do. Well, maybe police wives and children, but we wish it was easier, not made harder by the city.

They only ask for consideration in return. A chance to be heard. A chance to explain why these 12-hour shifts are better than eights for them, for their families and for their community. I heard the union attorney, Mr. Gasper, on the 29th say they really only wanted to change one word in the city ordinance. Is that so much to ask? To change "consult" to "bargain." It would make things more fair.

Please support the officers and their families. Call or write the mayor and Assembly and tell them to change the ordinance.

Mary Comolli


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