GOLDEN, Colo. — Police officers and other department personnel in Golden will be getting more time off the clock, starting in July.
The city is launching a pilot study on a four-day work week for police department employees. For the length of the study, employees will work 32 hours per week rather than 40, with no effect on their pay.
While the pilot study is only a trial of the policy, the city is optimistic that results will warrant a permanent adoption. It has been dubbed “The Best for Golden.”
“The research, the studies, a lot of these other trials that have been done across the globe, have really shown that productivity is increased and is maintained,” City Manager Scott Vargo said. “They’re just a happier, more productive, more engaged person with both their work and personal life.”
The move comes at a time when cities across the country are struggling to recruit and retain police officers. The City of Golden is hoping this offer of a shorter work week will give it a leg up.
“We think this could be huge. Law enforcement, in particular, is a really difficult environment to recruit and retain employees — particularly difficult within the state of Colorado. Lots and lots of police reform, that has just made it in some regards a less attractive career path for folks,” Vargo said. “We really think that putting something like this into place, valuing the employee at maybe a different level, will encourage more folks to participate, to come through the door. We’ll end up with maybe some of the best and brightest that want to work for Golden.”
Vargo said the police department was chosen for the pilot study because of its unique and more flexible scheduling, and because it already monitors several efficiency and productivity data points that will be useful in determining the ultimate success of the program. The vision, however, is to ultimately roll out a reduced work week to all city employees should the pilot program go as well as city leaders anticipate.
“That’s part of the pressure on the PD,” Vargo laughed. “The rest of the city employees are relying on them to be successful in their pilot, so they get a chance at it as well.”
The city expects this adjusted workflow to be permanently sustainable without changes to staffing levels or budget, though that will be one of the things confirmed by the study. Vargo said the city has a list of approximately 60 different metrics by which success can be measured at the end of the pilot.
“The goal of this is for the community not to really see a change in the level of service,” he said. “And if they do see a change, it would be hopefully that they see a higher level of service.”
The Best for Golden pilot program is set to launch July 10 and run to the end of the year.