Police scheduling software has been around for quite some time now. So, what is it that makes it useful and keeps it alive? Let's take a look...
We know that scheduling software for law enforcement MUST include things like the scheduling editor, templates, time off, shift trades, overtime, etc. But what is it that makes scheduling software worth it?
Well, the benefits could be different for each law enforcement agency. You may be the type who appreciates a healthy variety of reports for efficient record keeping. Or maybe your department is very open with communication and utilizes all the communication features such as notifications and message boards.
Many police scheduling systems have an all-in-one approach. Not only can you schedule, but also manage other things indirectly related to scheduling. This includes features such as court appearances, certification tracking, overtime forms, and payroll.
We will focus on the "best" features that save you the most time and make police scheduling software worth it.
Before we get started, here are a few resources that may be helpful if you're evaluating scheduling software
- 5 Staffing Solutions to Save Police Leaders Time and Money
- Why Police Leaders Should Use Personnel Scheduling Software
Below is a handful of improvements we've awarded as the "best." Although some of these features have been present in the past, the upgrades are now making the systems more robust than ever.
Automation will send notifications out of actions in the system such as approved or denied time off, overtime, and shift trades. The systems will also update the schedule automatically when things like time off, overtime, and shift trades are approved.
In some systems, such as PlanIt Police, the system will automatically send out an email to the person who you have just scheduled for a court appearance. The email will let them know they have been scheduled, and include all of the details about that court appearance.
Police scheduling systems have more "behind the scenes" automation that doesn't deal with notifications.
For example, you will create employee templates and the system will automatically fill them in the schedule.
It will adapt to the 24-hour scheduling with ease because it was in fact, built for law enforcement. In most systems, it will also automatically detect minimum staffing.
Automation is involved in many features such as notifications, schedules, minimum staffing, payroll, court appearances, and certifications. They are implemented to save you time and make your life easier.
2. Overtime Management
Overtime is something that almost every law enforcement agency deals with. Managing it can be a hassle.
The function for overtime in scheduling software keeps getting better. Not only can you submit OT forms through scheduling systems, you can post OT, have automatic notifications sent out about OT, report into different banks based on codes, and add notes.
So, say, for example, you're doing 6 hours of traffic control.
You just submit the date, hours, code (in this case grant work), and preferred compensation.
It will then be sent to the supervisor for approval.
Once approved, it will get logged into the system, the person will get an approved notification, and will be awarded the compensation in payroll or their comp bank.
Law Enforcement scheduling software provides hundreds of reports. You can run a report off for almost ANYTHING in the system. You have all your reports for record keeping in one system. Whenever you need a printed-out version you can go into the reports menu, find the one you're looking for, export it, and print it.
Need the monthly schedule for Officer Banks February of 2015?
Need to report the total overtime hours by date range?
Need to see how many times Officer Smith has called off in the past year?
Digging up old scheduling information will be easier than ever. Run reports for things like time offs, call-offs, and overtime, to help you stay under your budget. There are endless possibilities when you take advantage of reports in police scheduling software.
What are templates? They are the building blocks of your master schedules.
Templates allow you to create a rotation and set it for however long into the future you need it to go.
If you do changes or shift bids once a year, you will only have to update the templates once a year. If you do it multiple times a year, then you will become an expert with scheduling templates.
Many systems make it simple to change templates and schedules during shift bid season.
Scheduling systems have been updated recently as new ideas are coming into a reality. To see 3 tools we built to ease the shift bidding process, click here.
There are a lot more improvements that have been made this year but these are some of the best. Scheduling software that is specifically developed for law enforcement can save hundreds of labor hours a year. Utilizing this technology will create more efficiencies to save you time.
We are excited to see what 2017 will bring for law enforcement scheduling software. In the comments below, let us know some of the features you would like to see moving forward!
If you're doing research and need somewhere to start, feel free to use our free Police Scheduling Software Worksheet. It will allow you to organize the scheduling features and services of different providers. Compare them side-by-side to see which will work best for your department.