6-1 Staffing and Tour of Duty

Policy Type: Local

Responsible Office: Chief John Venuti, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 6/26/2014

Current Revision Approved: 1/19/2018



It is the policy of the VCUPD to maintain 24-hour patrol services, which requires a minimum number of patrol officers present during each tour of duty. The purpose of this directive is to establish the policy and procedures for maintaining minimum staffing levels for patrol, relief change, and ending tour of duty.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division supervisor to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling, and/or disciplinary action is initiated.



  1. Supervision and Scheduling: Patrol officer allocations are determined by the Chief of Police in order to ensure constant and adequate patrol throughout the differing shifts. Patrol officers are expected to work whatever shift assignment best fits the agency’s needs.
    1. Shift Schedules and Assignments
      1. Shift schedules rotate and provide officers with regularly scheduled days off. The shift schedules are posted monthly and annually according to shift assignments.
      2. Officers are assigned to work a specific geographic area and daily lineups are discussed during pre-shift read-off meetings.
      3. Officers normally work within their assigned area, but may be required to patrol another area if their supervisor deems it necessary 
      4. When shift changes are necessary, officers may be asked for their shift preference. Every attempt will be made to try to accommodate a shift request, if possible. Occasionally, shift preferences cannot be granted and staffing changes will be determined based on the agency’s needs.
        1. Hardship Requests In the event that an officer is unable to work their shift assignment due to a significant hardship, the officer may submit a hardship request to the Office of the Chief of Police. The request must be in writing and articulate the scheduling conflict and the reason for the hardship. The requesting officer should submit any supporting documentation along with the hardship request. Each hardship request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Hardships may be granted for a period of up to six (6) months. The Office of the Chief of Police tracks all hardship requests and approvals. If an approved hardship period passes and the scheduling conflict still exists, an additional hardship request letter and supporting documentation must be resubmitted for review to the Office of the Chief of Police.
  2. Minimum Staffing Needs: There are currently two designated patrol shifts, Squad A and Squad B, with three report times. A minimum of nine (9) officers are required in order to maintain adequate staffing needs during peak patrol hours (9 AM – 3 PM and 9 PM – 3 AM); however, this staffing level may fluctuate slightly during shift change activities. The Chief of Police or their designee may grant exceptions to minimum staffing requirements in light of special scheduling considerations during designated holidays and academic breaks/closings.
  3. Continuous Patrol Coverage
    1. Continuous patrol coverage is provided through the use of two (2) separate and permanent shifts: Squad A and Squad B, which will overlap in order to ensure constant patrol coverage during shift change activities.
    2. Increased patrol coverage occurs during peak hours and week days, and is reflected on the patrol schedule and daily lineups.
    3. During their tour of duty, officers shall maintain constant patrol of their assigned areas, unless they are on their lunch period, which is not to exceed 30 minutes.
    4. Officers shall not respond to VCUPD Headquarters until 10 minutes prior to ending their tour of duty, unless official business so requires, the officer has supervisor permission, or the officer is otherwise directed.
  4. Read-off:
    1. Read-off is conducted at the beginning of each shift by the designated shift supervisor or supervisor who ensures that all officers report for duty properly uniformed and equipped, so that they may immediately take to their assignments once roll call is complete. Read-off may include, but is not limited to, the following components:
      1. Line-up distribution
      2. Fleet assignments
      3. Beat information/deployment
      4. Officer safety information
  5. Ending Tour of Duty (EOT): After being officially relieved of duty, uniformed officers shall log out using the MDC, when available, and mark EOT by CAD over the radio. The dispatcher will provide the officer with their EOT time.
    1. Prior to EOT, all officers must check with their supervisor to ensure that all IBRs for the shift have been submitted and are approved.
    2. All officers must ensure that all property and evidence in their control is properly logged into agency records and placed under the control of the Property and Evidence office before the officer concludes their tour of duty.
    3. No uniformed officer will change into civilian clothes prior to marking 10-7 EOT. An exception to this provision would be when the uniformed officer is working a special plainclothes assignment.
    4. Prior to marking EOT, the officer shall ensure that their vehicle is operational, clean, has a minimum half tank of gas, and is ready for the next shift.
    5. Before concluding their tour of duty, the officer must brief their on-duty supervisor on any unusual incidents that occurred during their shift assignment, reported crimes, special assignments, wanted parties, etc. The on-duty supervisor will subsequently brief the oncoming shift on anything that may require follow-up by the oncoming officers and for officer safety purposes.
    6. The oncoming officer shall check their assigned vehicle for all of the following:
      1. Any new damage
      2. Equipment
      3. Property or evidence that was left in the vehicle
  6. Patrol Coverage Shortage
    1. In the event that a supervisor experiences a personnel shortage, the following procedures shall be implemented in the order below to maintain minimum staffing requirements:
      1. Long-Term Condition
        1. Minimum staffing levels may be affected by long-term sworn personnel shortages that occur due to officer injury or illness. If such shortages are foreseeable, the on-duty supervisor shall utilize a draft list of sworn personnel in order to maintain minimum staffing levels on each shift. Volunteers are encouraged; however, drafting of personnel may still be required. Overtime compensation will be granted to the drafted or volunteer officer.
        2. Shift supervisors shall take actions to maintain minimum staffing levels and will make every reasonable effort not to schedule their personnel in such a way that creates a draft situation (i.e. too many officers in training or on annual leave).
      2. Short-Term Condition: A shift may suffer a daily or short-term shortage due to officer sickness, training, or an emergency situation that the supervisor could not foresee. To resolve this situation, the supervisor shall implement the following procedures in the order below to maintain minimum staffing requirements:
        1. Use supervisors for patrol rather than working administrative functions
        2. Request volunteers from the current outgoing shift or other shifts for minimum overtime staffing, and/or utilize the callback list until the staffing shortages are resolved
        3. Utilize personnel from other sworn positions as needed
  7. In order to minimize the burden imposed on officers affected by the above staffing requirements, supervisors shall rotate the selected officers within their units.


Vacations and Requests for Time Off

  1. Officers shall submit leave requests to their shift supervisor well in advance of the requested leave date(s) using RealTime.
  2. Approval or denial of such requests is solely within the discretion of that particular supervisor and will be based primarily on minimum staffing considerations. Supervisors must respond to leave requests within seven (7) calendar days of receipt, unless the requested leave date(s) are six (6) months or more in the future.
  3. The following factors are considered in approving officer leave requests:
    1. Staffing needs of the designated shift
    2. Existing black-out dates
    3. First come, first serve (as determined by the date the leave request is submitted and any other requests previously received)
    4. Other extenuating circumstances, including, but not limited to, any relevant expenditures paid in advance by the requesting officer


Emergency Mobilization Plan

  1. In the event of an unusual occurrence, the Chief of Police may mobilize sworn personnel through various stages until a general call-in of all sworn personnel is initiated. The stages are as follows:
    1. Standby: The Chief of Police may order that all sworn and dispatch personnel be placed on a 24- hour standby status. Standby personnel are required to notify communications of their current location and to provide a contact number at that time. During standby status, affected personnel shall remain no more than one (1) hour away from the agency.
    2. Shift Adjustment: Personnel who are already on-duty may be required to remain at the agency for re-assignment, unless the emergency situation is for an extended period of time.
    3. Call-In: If an emergency situation intensifies, the Chief of Police or their designee may order offduty sworn personnel to be called in. The order of call-in will be: (1) the next shift scheduled for duty, (2) administrative officers and investigators, and (3) the shift just relieved of duty.
    4. General Call-In: During major incidents, the Chief of Police may order all off-duty sworn personnel to return to work.
  2. All sworn personnel are required to immediately notify their supervisor of any changes to their address and/or telephone number. The supervisor must subsequently forward any and all updates to dispatch and VCUPD’s Payroll/Personnel Manager.
  3. The agency will provide key personnel designations in coordination with Emergency Management.


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

6/26/2014 - 6-1 Staffing and Tour of Duty