Baltimore police overwhelmingly approved a one-year contract with the city that includes a 5 percent pay raise and the testing of a four-day work week, city and police union officials confirmed yesterday.
In November, officers in the Northeast District will begin working a 10-hour-a-day four-day shift instead of the eight-hour-a-day, six-day stint which has been in place for 50 years, according to Paul M. Blair Jr., the president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police union.
The change in schedule, which could be implemented in the eight other districts by next year, was ratified by more than 80 percent of the officers in what was the largest turnout in the past four contracts, according to Blair. The Northeast District will test the schedule for 90 to 120 days.
"It shows how much the men and women are excited to get the new work schedule," Blair said.
Blair said the schedule should help fight crime by putting more officers on the streets during night-time hours. The evening shift is to go from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., while the late shift is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. and last until 7 a.m.
"The biggest winners will be citizens of Baltimore," Blair said. "The extra police during peak time will hopefully help combat crime."
City officials also expressed relief over the terms of the new contract.
"Personally, I'm very pleased that we reached an agreement with the FOP. It is a one-year agreement, and come January, we'll be back at the table again," said Deborah Moore-Carter, the city's labor commissioner.
Blair said he was disappointed that the contract did not include more money. With the raise, the starting salary for an officer is $41,058.
While that is not far off from surrounding districts, Blair said, veteran officers with eight or more years' experience will still tend to make 15 percent less than their counterparts in the state police and in Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.