By challenging the Los Angeles Police Department’s three-day workweek, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry has taken on a noble cause – five years too late. In calling for the City Council to review the LAPD’s flexible-time schedule, Perry has pointed out the obvious truth to which most of her City Hall peers have been willfully ignorant: Putting police on 3-12 work schedules – three, 12-hour days – is not in the city’s best interest. For starters, it tends to exhaust officers to work those long shifts, plus leads to moonlighting, which exhausts officers all the more. It also forces the Los Angeles Police Department to use more overtime during peak hours, which is expensive. And by all accounts, it reduces the number of officers available to patrol our streets. But like it or not – and we do not – the flexible workweek isn’t going anywhere. The compressed schedule was the product of a political deal. When James Hahn ran for mayor for the first time, he promised the perk to the Police Protective League in exchange for its endorsement. That was back in 2002, and the consequences have been clear ever since. But city leaders – with the exception of former police chief and current City Councilman Bernard Parks – have been largely silent on the issue, for fear of alienating the powerful PPL. The compressed week remains popular with officers. Unfortunately, there’s nothing Perry, Parks or the council can do about it now. The three-day workweek has become a fact of life in the LAPD, part of the contract between the city and its police. It never should have been implemented, but taking it back would probably cost a lot more than it’s worth at the bargaining table. Instead of wasting time and energy revisiting a past that can’t be changed, Perry and the rest of the council need to do things to make this a safer city. The logical place to start would be a serious, comprehensive effort to address the scourge of gangs, not a wasteful review of the LAPD’s flexible work schedule. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!