After a recent drunken driving fatality involving an off-duty NYPD detective, the city detectives union is considering changing the schedule that some say contributes to alcohol abuse. Some 2,000 of the city's 5,500 detectives routinely work two night shifts, then two day shifts, then get two days off. But because the turnover is so short between the end of the night shift at 1 a.m. and the start of the day shift at 8 a.m., most detectives who reside outside the city don't bother going home. Instead, they go out drinking and then sleep at precinct houses.

In September, Detective Timothy Duffy was killed when he crashed into a garbage truck on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Duffy had ended his shift at 2 a.m. and was due back at work at 8 a.m. Instead of commuting home to Suffolk County, he stayed in the city and was drinking before the accident. Michael Palladino, head of the Detectives' Endowment Association, tells the Daily News, "His death raises your level of suspicion: how much does the turnaround have to do with catastrophes like that?"

And one Queens detective tells the News, "You're away from your family. You got guys going out drinking. It's on their own time, but that's where you get problems." Union delegates will now poll detectives to determine if a majority favor a schedule change; if so, the union will approach Commissioner Raymond Kelly about the issue.