February 12, 2016

29° Cloudy

New 12-hour police shifts helped Frankfort officers respond to Octavia’s threats

Published 3:12 pm Thursday, February 19, 2015

Frankfort Police Chief Jeff Abrams says the recent change to 12-hour shifts became a valuable asset when Winter Storm Octavia hit Franklin County.

“Basically it gave us such high staffing capabilities that response times were minimized,” Abrams said.

With hazardous driving conditions, the department doubled up its patrols, sending two officers out in each of its all-wheel-drive SUVs.

As a result, the same number of officers was able to be on patrol in fewer vehicles, reducing the chances of a cruiser being involved in an accident. Additionally, keeping two people in a vehicle meant that backup was readily available when necessary, whether to direct traffic after a wreck or help push a car back onto the street.

“While the nature of the calls we were responding to had changed, we were still able to respond in a timely manner,” Abrams said. “We were able to keep operating as though it was business as usual.”

He also said that the department was not affected by overtime that would have accumulated under the 8-hour model. While officers did spend extra time in the field, the department did not exceed the built-in overtime budgeted for.

“Everything was able to go smoothly,” Abrams said. “I would call it extreme efficiency.”

The police responded to multiple motorist assist calls Monday as streets became less maneuverable because of heavy snow. Some calls involved as many as 70 vehicles when motorists began having difficulty navigating Frankfort’s hills.

Following restrictions put in place on non-emergency travel Monday night that expired Tuesday evening, Abrams said traffic issues have once again gone down.