SEATTLE - Many of us work overtime, but it can be risky for a worker behind the wheel and carrying a gun. A national expert says 40 percent of police officers have sleep disorders.
"It can impact you as far as decision making, your response times, your thought process in general,” said Chief Dan Pingrey, King County Sheriff’s Office.
The King County Council is looking at cop fatigue, and on Tuesday Skyped with an expert who tells them it impairs officers decision making.
"This sort of impairment from sleep loss is a key factor in the two things that kill cops: traffic crashes and confrontations with dangerous people,” said Bryan Vila, PhD.
The King County Sheriffs Office is a month-and-a-half into a new scheduling system to cut overtime. But recent budget cuts and the elimination of 13 positions last year did lead to an overtime increase.
How much OT? That’s unclear because the union keeps track of outside job overtime that is not reported to the Sheriff’s Office.
"We are also very interested in the amount of hours and how they’re calculated. We don’t always know how many hours our officers are working overtime, and that is of great concern,” said Kathy Lambert, King County Council Member.
The council is looking at a few options, either screening officers for sleep deprivation or maybe requiring 12 hours in between shifts.
Any actions will need union approval.