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Computer Scheduling Is Needed for First Responder Organizations

If you are still doing it on paper, you need to switch to an automated solution.

Just this past week I moderated a webinar on the topic of using a computer program to do staff scheduling. Anyone who has a 24/7/365 multi-shift workforce would benefit from moving from a paper-based, labor intensive system to one using a program specifically designed to solve your staffing and scheduling issues. See the link below to watch the webinar.

Harnessing the Power of Public Safety and Corrections Scheduling Automation

I personally have experience with the software tool from UKG called Telestaff. For four years I served as the director of security for the Port of Tacoma. We had a security force of armed and unarmed officers and three shifts, a control center, roving patrols, and fixed gates that opened and closed at different times due to ship schedules.

Our paper-based system was a nightmare. Shift leads spent most of their work time on scheduling issues such as finding officers to fill open staff slots, adjusting schedules for delayed ships or staff calling in sick, etc. Then there were also the work rules that come with a unionized workforce. There was a lack of trust in the system with claims of favoritism to individual officers.

My end of the stick was dealing with the high cost of overtime driven by a lack of staff. But proving that with a paper system was not easy.

We finally convinced port management that we needed a computerized system to manage staffing. We selected Telestaff as the solution. While there is never a completely perfect solution to every problem, Telestaff was a bit of a godsend in that it automated most of the time-consuming aspects of scheduling and contacting officers. It also provided complete transparency so anyone could see the schedule 24/7 and know when there were openings that they could volunteer to serve in. Just having that helped with reducing overtime.

Like any endeavor, success comes based on the time you put into the solution up front. Getting Telestaff set up and staff trained on how to use it were key.

You could be a small organization, or like one of the presenters who works in corrections with thousands of employees. Organizations on both ends of the scale can benefit from Telestaff.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
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