Stay up to date

Public safety Schedule Express

How to extend your current coverage plan

On January 13, 2022

When using Schedule Express, one of the most powerful tools in any agency’s arsenal is the coverage plan. This is the foundation of your schedule which enables you to set your minimum staffing and allows the system to identify any gaps in your staffing. These plans are custom configured to meet your needs – even as they change; for example, if your agency knows work volume increases during a specific season,  the coverage plan can be configured to accommodate.  


As we enter the new year, it’s common for our agency clients to evaluate if they want to extend the current coverage plan they have in place, or make adjustments to increase the effectiveness of your agency's staffing and schedules. This article provides a high-level overview of how to extend your current coverage plan in Schedule Express.


Our goal at SafeCities™ is to ensure your agency has full control over your schedule – while our support staff is always here when you need us, the first objective is for you to feel confidently in control to make changes independently and update your schedule to meet your needs.




Identify your needs

Before executing in Schedule Express, it’s important to identify what your staffing needs are for the new year in order to develop a schedule that meets them. If your current coverage plan works, then extending that is the easiest solution. If you decide to make some changes, the current plan can be copied and staffing adjustments can easily be updated. Finally, a new coverage plan can be created if the current plan is no longer effective.


A few things to consider when evaluating:

  • Changes to shift hours
  • How changes might impact minimum staffing across the day
  • Any challenges with your current plan
  • Or small changes, such as a briefing period before a shift


It’s important not to leave this task until the day before the new coverage plan is required. Generally, our clients want their coverage plans in place at least a month prior to it taking effect so they can begin posting overtime. A good rule of thumb is four to six weeks before you need to transition, though it could be more or less depending on your operations. At a minimum, we recommend at least one full week in advance so if there are any issues and you need support from our team, this will ensure you have adequate time to troubleshoot with us.


Extend or create your coverage plan

Ensure whoever is looking to make these changes has the security role needed to make adjustments. Additionally, remember to validate each month in the coverage plan before implementation. 


To extend your coverage plan with no modifications:

Note: We recommend not extending a coverage plan to a period of more than 12 months. We’ve designed the system to be easy to manage, easy to modify, and it’s easy to copy the coverage plan to span the next period of time and continue to do so for as long as the plan continues to work for your operations. Overextending your coverage plan can often have the opposite intended effect, and adversely impact your ability to remain agile in the system. 


To extend your coverage plan with modifications:

  • Time required: 20-60 minutes
  • Modification in the system is easiest when you’ve evaluated your staffing numbers for each position in advance, Sunday through Saturday, 24 hours per day
  • Log in to Service Desk and read this article for detailed information

Note: The speed and ease of this task will depend on the complexity of your needs and your comfortability with the system. In some cases, after retirement or other change of management, personnel with limited experience in Schedule Express become responsible for updates. Our team is happy to work with any individuals who would like to learn more about how to operate the system independently.  


To create a new coverage plan:

Note: The more legwork you’ve completed on the backend of identifying your agency’s needs (i.e. minimum staffing numbers), the quicker the process will be inputting those needs into the system.


If you have questions or would simply feel more comfortable working with our support team to expedite the process, we’re happy to help or execute on your behalf. If you know you plan to make changes, there’s no such thing as too soon – even if it’s 6-12 months in advance. We recommend giving us at least one week’s notice to reduce pressure on both sides and ensure your coverage plan is fully functional exactly when you need it.


If you have an urgent need, please call us immediately at 800.470.6102 – we’re here to help.  Otherwise, if you have access to the Service Desk, submit a request and we will send an invite to schedule a web session.  If you do not have access to the Service Desk, submit a request for a meeting via email,     


If your agency does not currently use Schedule Express but would like to learn more, you can book a demo at any time, or request a free ROI analysis to project the potential cost-savings to your organization.



Submit a Comment

Articles by public safety experts delivered straight to your inbox. Stay up to date.