Lovick bill allowing flexible work schedules for police passes Senate

OLYMPIA – Legislation passed in the Senate today would authorize Washington law enforcement agencies to adopt flexible work policies that do not require an officer to work 40 hours per week to be considered a law enforcement officer.

“Flexible work schedules are intended to increase the diversity of law enforcement,” said Sen. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek), the prime sponsor of SB 5424. “It’s an important step to increase female representation in law enforcement to our goal of 30% by 2030.”

“I have been waiting 38 years to see my profession evolve to make the job more manageable for officers with families,” said Sue Rahr, former Sheriff of King County. “When I was first working in the King County Sheriff’s Office it was incredibly difficult to balance my pregnancy, then caring for my baby, with my duties as a law enforcement officer. Many other officers face this same dilemma and unfortunately, they often leave the force. This bill finally allows police officers who love their job and love their families to create a manageable work-life balance.”

“It’s time we look at different ways of doing things,” Lovick said. “Flexible work schedules are going to help departments staff busy weekends and help them retain parents, those pursuing higher education, and senior officers who cannot maintain a 40-hour workweek. With the current recruitment and retention difficulties our departments are experiencing, we shouldn’t be forcing good officers to retire because of inflexible work schedules.”

If departments choose to allow flexible work schedules, they may require officers to work a certain number of years before being eligible. The bill would not alter any other requirements of being a law enforcement officer such as mandatory training.

The bill is now headed to the House of Representatives for consideration. Its progress can be tracked here.