Kudos to the El Paso Police Department
By Joe Olvera ©, 2013
ANALYSIS: Once again, it’s kudos to the men and women in blue from the El Paso Police Department for helping make the city the safest large city in the United States. For the third year in a row, El Paso has helped to create an atmosphere of safety and security for its more than 500,000 residents. But, that’s not all, According to CQ Press, who compiles statistics from FBI reports, El Paso has ranked in the top-three safest cities in the U.S. since 1997. In the crimes of murder, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary-larceny, car thefts and arson, El Paso stands proudly above the rest.
But, there’s a rhyme and a reason behind El Paso’s lofty standing, Thank goodness that the Police Department does not operate on a four-day work week as other city departments are currently doing. In a move to permanently create this perk, the El Paso City Council recently approved extending the four-day work week through the summer months, from May 1 to Sept. 30. In an earlier experiment, in 2009, the city was able to save up to $225,000 for the four-month period, according to City Manager Joyce Wilson. However, that comes with a price. That is, for city employees to qualify for the four-day work week, they will be required to work ten-hour days from Monday through Thursday, working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, if people would have their d’ruthers, they would rather work an extra two-hours per day so that they can stay home all day on Friday.
While employees for El Paso County must continue working the five-day week, others have also experimented with the shortened work week. The communities of Canutillo, Anthony, and even the Ysleta ISD, have toyed with such a move in previous years. El Paso County, while it hasn’t reached a decision, is still considering what many employees see as something that they would very much enjoy. A spokesperson for the YISD calls it a win-win situation because it bolsters employee morale and it helps large organizations save money. According to some, having Fridays off helps to alleviate the boredom of working all day Friday, especially during the afternoon when energy levels have tapered off. City governments, however, are not the only entities making such a move, the United States Postal Service is considering curtailing its mail delivery from six days to five, eliminating Saturday as a regular day for mail delivery.
One wonders, however, how the four-day work week will affect city services now that city offices will be moving from a centralized location to one that will move city offices to other buildings, such as the El Paso Times building and others. To make room for the new baseball stadium, city hall will be no longer. Razing the 33-year old building is in the works in order to make room for the new muti- million-dollar stadium. Until the public grows accustomed to finding city offices in the disparate buildings to which they would have moved, doing business with the city could create consternation. Fortunately for residents, however, essential city departments such as police, fire, trash pick-up, the airport, Sun Metro, and others will remain on its usual five-day work week.
The four-day work week for some employees is one element that makes El Paso a unique city. Although other communities are considering the change, El Paso is one of the first to get it done on a permanent basis. And, once again, our hats are off to the El Paso Police Department and to El Paso residents for making it the largest city of its kind to continually be named the Safest Large City in the United States. Would the El Paso Police Department take such a hiatus and would never consider working only a four-day work week. Then, and only then, would chaos prevail. Perish the thought.