More than 160 Fairfax County police officers have joined a new union created to address concerns of the "street-level cop," according to union leaders.

Officer J.D. Fowler, chairman of Fairfax COPS Local 5000, said the membership drive has been successful, despite fears that there would be retaliation against officers who joined. "We have experienced no harassment and no negative treatment," Fowler said. "However, I think {police officials} are doing their best to try to ignore us."

The union was formed July 25 to provide an alternative to the Police Association, an organization with about 830 Fairfax officers as members, including management. Only officers below the rank of sergeant are eligible to join Local 5000. Dues are $15 a month.

Both groups now have been barred from using the daily roll calls as a forum to reach officers at the seven district stations, Fowler said.

Among the concerns of street-level officers was the recent change from permanent to rotating shifts. Under the new system, the county's more than 750 patrol officers work three shifts -- days, evenings and midnights -- changing every week.

Union officials said the change has been disruptive, and a study of its impact is being undertaken. The union also is studying complaints about equipment, including too few working radios, and is challenging height and weight standards, which it contends are medically unsound, unfair to women and do not take into account job performance or health problems.

While there is no collective bargaining for public employees in Virginia, the union gives street-level officers a collective voice, union officials said. COPS, an acronym of sorts that stands for Coalition of Police, will elect its first slate of officers next month.