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Chief Wray's Blog

Madison Police Department Annual Shift and Assignment Change Process

February 3, 2014 2:13 PM

This week you may be noticing new, along with familiar, faces patrolling your district.  That is because every year Madison Police Department employees assigned to patrol are given an opportunity to select their work shift and district assignment based on their seniority within the department.  In December Officers and Sergeants assigned to Patrol and Community Policing Teams select their shift and district assignment for the following year.  This process is referred to as "shift change" and this year it occurred on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Patrol is the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, around the clock police service that involves both emergency and non-emergency police response to calls for service throughout the city.  Police Officers and supervisors in patrol are assigned to beats within one of our five geographic districts: North, South, East, West and Central.  There are five patrol 8 hour work shifts with primary start times of 7am, 12pm, 3pm, 8pm and 11pm.  We also overlap these shifts by having three additional start times throughout the day which are 6am, 2pm and 10pm to ensure adequate coverage at all hours of the day. 

In addition to Patrol assignments, there are several other "closed position" assignments for officers and supervisors which include Neighborhood Officer, Traffic Enforcement Safety Team (TEST), Education Resource Officer, Crime Prevention Gang Unit, Safety Education, Training Officer, Crime Stoppers, Canine Officer, Mounted Patrol and Narcotics Task Force assignments.  Closed position assignments are offered to those within our Department through a competitive selection process.  These closed position assignments are typically a four year assignment, however, a variety of officers rotate in and out of these assignments each year at the February shift change.

Detectives annually select their shift and district assignment by seniority and they were also a part of the shift change process on February 2, 2014.  Civilian support staff and parking enforcement officers also have the opportunity to change assignments, shifts, or districts and participate in the shift change process.

Police Commanders which include Assistant Chiefs, Captains and Lieutenants may also change work unit assignments and districts.  The Police Command assignment changes occurred in the beginning of January.  To learn more about the police commanders in your district please visit our website at:

What does this mean for the citizens of Madison?  The shift change process is an annual event that results in officers, supervisors, civilians and commanders moving to different assignments throughout the city.  Although many officers, detectives and supervisors remain in their district and shift assignments for several years, you may be seeing new faces patrolling your neighborhood or working out of your district station.  This is a great way for all staff, both commissioned and civilian, to have the opportunity to work in all areas of not only our city but also within our department.

Posted by: Interim Chief Gaber

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