Allegheny County (PA) Pittsburgh City Police Zone Coverage and Shift Scheduling

From The RadioReference Wiki

City of Pittsburgh Police Zone Coverage

For daily patrol work, the City of Pittsburgh is broken down into six Zones. Each Zone has its' own police station.

City of Pittsburgh Police Zones Map

Each Zone is broken down into "sectors". By assigning patrol units to these individual sectors, a more even or balanced patrol pattern is established. There are times when it is deemed necessary to have a unit cover multiple sectors, or to have a unit travel between high crime areas within a Zone. The units patrolling in this manner are referred to as "rovers".

By patrolling in this manner, the geography is covered in a balanced manner. From a time perspective, it is necessary to have an understanding of shift scheduling.

City of Pittsburgh Police Shift Scheduling

Let's start with the premise that it would not be advantageous to change out shifts every eight hours on a global basis. Doing so would mean there would be no police patrols for 20 minutes or so every eight hours. So a criminal could plan their illicit activities for that 20 minute window.

However, it is still necessary to conduct shift changes. There will always be some disruption of patrol work during shift change. How can that disruption be minimized?

The City of Pittsburgh has elected to conduct their shift changes as follows:

 Shift Scheduling (24 hour clock)
                     Early Side     Late Side	
       AM Shift        07 - 15       08 - 16
       PM Shift        15 - 23       16 - 24
       Night Turn      23 - 07       24 - 08
 Note:  Split shift is from 04 - 12, 12 - 20, and 20 - 04.  Split shift appears to be
        Primarily UC type vehicles and PC's staffed with two officers.

There is a one hour differential where half the units are changed out one hour after the first half. So there is a 20 minute window at 7am, 8am, 3pm, 4pm, 11pm, and midnight where only half of each Zones units are on patrol. The dead time is therefore minimized and each Zone is never left without any units on patrol.

City of Pittsburgh Police Radio Communications Relating to Coverage and Scheduling

If we combine the above referenced coverage and scheduling information with the unit call sign wiki section, we can derive even more information from police communications.

For regular patrol work, each day is divided into three primary shifts (AM, PM and Night Turn). Since half the units start on the “early” side and the other half start on the “late” side, the overall shift time ends up being a nine hour shift from a supervisory perspective. Just prior to the start of the “early” side (7am, 3pm, and 11pm), the Zone lieutenant on duty faxes the shift schedule to the radio dispatcher. Each of the three radio dispatchers receives two shift schedules, one for each Zone.

The shift schedule is referred to as the “Run-Down”. The Run-Down is entered into the County computer system so that the powers that be can access the shift schedule. The radio dispatchers keep the system updated so that the Zone lieutenant or other appropriate personnel can see at a glance which Zone units are working at any given time, and whether and where they may be on a call. The system view that displays this information is referred to as “the Board”. A patrol car computer is referred to as a “MDT”, Mobile Data Terminal.

We can now derive more information from police communications, especially unit numbers. Let’s take some unit numbers combined with the time of day the communication was overheard:

 “3123” at 1pm – Marked police car, Zone 1, one officer in car, working the
                 early side of the AM shift 7am to 3pm
 “3324” at 6pm – Marked police car, Zone 3, one officer in car, working the
                 late side of the PM shift 4 pm to midnight
 “3401” at 8am – Marked police van, Zone 4, two officers in van, working the
                 early side of the AM shift 7am to 3pm
 “3612” at 2pm – Marked police car, Zone 6, two officers in car, working EITHER
                 split-shift OR the late side of the AM shift 8am to 4pm

If a unit ends up working overtime and into the next shift, they will add their shift after the unit number. That’s why you will sometimes hear units refer to themselves as, “3623 Daylight” or “3623 AM”.

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