The Brownwood Police Department’s patrol division began working 12-hour shifts last week, a move the police administration says will put more officers on the street and reduce overtime.

The new work schedule means the patrol division, with its current staffing, can put six officers per shift on the streets — up from four or five per shift on the eight-hour schedules, Police Chief Virgil Cowin said. Officers worked overtime if the patrol division had five on a shift, Cowin said.

“What it means, hopefully, is we’ll cut back on overtime and have more manpower to protect people,” Cowin said. “There will be more officer presence in the city.”

The increased manpower will also mean increased traffic enforcement and should reduce violations and accidents, Cowin said.

Long-range plans call for seven officers per shift, but that won’t happen until the department fills its four vacancies, Cowin said.

Patrol officers are scheduled to work 84 hours, or seven days, in a two-week period, city officials said.

Patrol shifts are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The new schedule was effective on Thursday.