LAPD Shift Hours: Flexible, Take-Your-Pick Shifts

In a big city like Los Angeles, the Police Department is an essential service that you just cannot dismiss. These guys have to work hard round the clock to ensure that law and order are maintained. But then, these are actual human beings, not robots, and they need to rest. This is why there are LAPD shift hours to enable some rest and flexibility. Lets know about LAPD Shift Hours.

LAPD Shift Hours

Los Angeles Police Department officers usually employ either of three shift systems, depending on convenience. They can either choose to work the regular 9-5 for 5 days in a week like regular office workers, a 10-hour shift four days a week, or a 12-hour shift, done three days within a week.

Why is there a need for shifts?

Well, again, men are not machines, and they do need rest. If a man was required to work nonstop for long hours, his efficiency at that work would drastically reduce. Really, how do you expect a tired, drowsy man to respond to an emergency burglary call?

The shift systems: which would you prefer?

The system is so designed that officers can pick which is more convenient for them. Do you love to spread out your work and not do too much at a stretch? There is a suitable option for you. Would you rather just compress everything, get it done quickly, and have the rest of the time to yourself? Well, there is just the perfect choice for you too.

5/8 system: work five 8-hour shifts in a week

Here, you work eight hours for five days a week. This is similar to your regular 9-5 job because it is also a 5/8 system.

However, it is not the same because the 8-hour shift can fall in various parts of the day.

Shift times

S/NNameStart TimeEnd Time
1AM Watch11 pm7:30 am
2Day Watch7 am3:30 pm
3PM Watch3 pm11:30 pm
4Mid Day Watch10 am6:30 pm
5Mid PM Watch6 pm2:30 am

Note the 30minute overlap between most of the shift times. This is to ensure that all officers are not in transition at the same time. It allows the incoming officers to settle in before the previous shift goes out.


  • These LAPD shift hours afford you relatively shorter work hours
  • Less chance of getting overstressed and burning out
  • You have the remaining 16 hours of the day to yourself


  • You only have a 2-day weekend
  • Less chance of substitution for absenteeism(since others are already working 5 days also).

4/10 system: Work four 10-hour shifts in a week

You can readily infer what this means for yourself. An officer is to work 10-hour shifts and do this for four days a week. This equates to a total of forty work hours in a week. This is just about the length of your regular 9-5 job.

Note that these days do not have to be consecutive. They can be spaced, as long you can boast of four workdays at the end of the week.

Shift times

Below are the most common shift times for people working the 10-hour shift:

S/NNameStart TimeEnd Time
1Morning Shift6 am4 pm
2Swing shift2 pm12am(midnight)
3Graveyard shift10 pm8 am

Again, you must have noticed the 2-hour overlap between the shifts. 


  • This kind of shift is best for people who do not like to overstretch themselves. They would rather break up their work into smaller units wherever possible.
  • Officers are less likely to burn out in the middle of a shift


  • You have to work more days a week
  • There will be fewer people to fill in for absences since others are working four days already.

3/12 system: Work three 12-hour shifts in a week

Again, this is self-explanatory. An officer is required to work twelve-hour shifts, but only for three days a week. But this only sums up to 36 hours in a week. So, some officers may work a little extra to hit the 40-hour mark. Again, the three days do not have to be consecutive.

You see, most officers of the Los Angeles Police Department adopt this system of work shift hours. Since its introduction in about 2001, more and more officers have been profiled into this system. Now, there are about 70% of the LAPD officers work this type of shift system.

Shift times

Since there are only 24 hours in a day, there are two 12-hr shift times:

S/NNameStart TimeEnd Time
1Day Shift6 am6 pm
2Night shift6 pm6 am


S/NNameStart TimeEnd Time
1Day Shift7 am9 pm
2Night shift9 pm7 am


  • You have more days off(4 days off work in one week!)
  • You get to spend more time with family and friends and on your hobbies
  • The above results in boosted morale and the ability to get more work done in those three workdays


  • It is potentially more strenuous than the 4/10 system.
  • More off-days could mean fewer people to work round the clock, leading to a ‘short-staffing of some neighborhoods

So, which of these is better?

So, we have seen several LAPD watches and how they are arranged. But we cannot exclusively state that one system is better than the other. It is usually a matter of choice and convenience. But if viewing it from a perspective other than the officers’, some interesting facts begin to come out.

For example, analysis has shown that with the 3/12 shift, there is a slower response to emergency calls, especially towards the end of shifts. This is not so surprising. Yet, the officers prefer this system of LAPD shift hours because of the much free time it affords them.

So, it becomes a dilemma. Do we please the officers at the expense of work effectiveness? Or do we force a change of the shift system, risking damage of morale?


  1. Am I required to work all the shifts in a day?

Answer: Of course not. There are different shifts and a person only works one. Each shift lasts for long enough to complete your required work hours for the day.

  1. If a person works the 8/12 system, they have only 36 hours. Will it affect pay?

Answer: Well, there is the thing with the LAPD salary per hour. So, it most likely will. This is why some officers work a little extra to make it up to forty hours.

LAPD Shift Hours: Flexible, Take-Your-Pick Shifts

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