1. #1

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    Apr 2008

    Cool police/fire cross-trained depts.

    Recently our Dept. has been undergoing a review of our services and our future needs. We are a full paid,professional dept. and are woefully understaffed(isn't everyone). After paying for a consultant firm to come in and provide the City with a document outlining our needs and their recommendations(1 year and approx. $100,000), the City convened a commity composed of various civic leaders which came up with thier recommendations(this took approx. 1 year). These recommendations were then sent to the City Commission and Mayor for more discussion. As usual, the discussion came down to funding. After several more months one of the Commissioners brought up the possibility of combining the Police and Fire depts. and crosstraining them. We are obviously opposed to this, but I am looking for comments and infomation if anyone has any.

  2. #2
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    sfd1992's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Have you contacted the International yet? I'm sure they have someone there with experience in this area. I think Public Safety Departments, (combined PD/FD) were in vogue years ago, but have kind of disappeared. Usually where they do exist are in small communities with low PD and FD call volume.

    Good Luck.

  3. #3
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    Nilsog's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Maine- Deep South of the Far North


    They've been talking about crosstraining the police officers in my town to assist in setting trucks up, pulling hose etc, but nothing further.

    Frankly the idea scares me, let people who want to do it, do it. The cops can sit in their cars for all i care :|
    Engineer, Local 3038

  4. #4
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    Mar 2003
    Western, IL


    Not a good idea. In Illinois the AFFI pushed and helped pass a statute that does not allow the formation of Public Safety Departments anymore. There are a couple that exist now but no new ones can form.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2007
    Green Bay


    What do cops and firefighters have in common?....both want to be firefighters

    As the previous poster mentions many public saftey depts have fallen out of favor and like IL, WI has a law forbidding the formation of new public safety departments. We have one close to the city I'm in and they do have their problems and the whole cop/firefighter thing is not as cut and dry as one thinks. I would say you best efforts to prevent such a thing would be to look into those public saftey departments out there and find out about the costs. While the politicians think that combining the two will be a huge cost savings, they are typically mistaken.

    First off one has to define the capacity in which one responds. They can't be both, because when the cop is playing firefighter, who is preventing crime? You will still need on duty officers to act in the police capacity as you need fire fighters. Who acts as crowd control and traffic response if all cops are being used? How do you handle a second call simulateously, be it fire or police?

    Secondly, who gets the trucks to the scene? Many officers carry FF gear in their vehicles, but who brings the rigs? other public safety, POC? What good is having firefighters on scene without equipment?

    Third, what are the costs incurred to send established individuals to the police training and fire training, overtime costs? HUGE. Often police officers have to appear in court for many issues, how do you cover for those individuals? What about annual training requirements, what are those going to cost? On the fire side of things, who does fire inspections, hose testing, pump testing, ladder maintainence? Are you running as EMS?

    In the Public Safety Dept by me the officers do a 24 on and 48 off schedule. They spend 8 hours in the police capicity and 16 in the fire/EMS capacity. While acting as a cop, they do strictly cop duties and do not do firefighting. There are POC to supplement, but that can vary for responses. During the off days, many officers do spend a lot of time collecting OT for either court, staffing or other calls which come in. One benefit of this public safety dept is that all full timers are paramedics and a police officer can get to an emergency quicker and start interventions, but this varies by depts out there.

    Overall, I think there are too many unknowns and hidden costs to establish a public safety department than there is to keep both entities seperate. Also having cops and FF's merged, if all personnel are being used on a fire, what is stopping someone from setting fires, knowing everyone will be used at that scene, allowing them to commit crimes elsewhere?
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2005


    Long ago in a galaxy far away, firefighters were employed to fight fires.

    Today most depts. are expected to have firefighters proficient in suppression, EMS, hazmat, technical rescue, and pick 10 other specializations.

    Talk about jack of trades, master of none.

    Now lets add police officer to the list. At what point do we stop? Perhaps we can also train them as tow truck drivers and lineman.

    I see it as being similar to the command center, pumper, hazmat, rescue super apparatus that are being built. Sure it can do a little of everything. Can it do ONE thing well? Probably not.

    Its sad but I would guess in 100 years firefighters, police, and EMS will all be combined into one stupid sounding job title like... All Hazards Public Safety Technician I.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2008


    Stupid idea, but it doesn't surprise me. I can just see it now.........
    You are on an EMS call or at a fire and the person you are trying to take care off remembers..."hey aren't you the one that pulled me over and gave me that DWI?" LOL won't work...people

  8. #8
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    Eno821302's Avatar
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    Apr 2006


    I know this is going to sound like a rather uninformed opinion because unfortunately that's all I have- though I'm reminded of the words of our chief back home (service of about 50 years when you put it all end to end without overlaps) when I asked if we could attend a local police "Carseat Blitz" a few years back.

    The chief said with NO equivocation that no, we weren't going to participate (in distinguishable uniform or with marked apparatus at least) because he didn't want us to be associated with the ticket writing and other negative aspects of the Blitzes. Instead, we could possibly provide an extra "car seat clinic" back at the station that ticketted motorists could attend to get the seat installed properly and the tickets potentially revoked. This kept us clear of the negative things and emphasized the positive. We could, however, act under the auspices of volunteers to check the seat and point out to the police (who weren't as well trained in the installation of said appliances back then)... but he didn't want people knowing outright that we were local firefighters.

    Even though our working relationship with all three services (Municipal Enforcement / RCMP / EMS) is very strong, his suggestion was that we were (basically) "good guys, and we do the good things."

    Now I know this sounds a bit naive, and believe you me I have the utmost respect for those in law enforcement... but I have to admit it did and still does make sense to me so many years later. We're a small community and having the public on side is a tremendous fire prevention tool!

    Mixing cops and fire would be like mixing rubber lips with woodpeckers.

    Same house? Sure... Same jobs? I think not.
    Last edited by Eno821302; 05-26-2008 at 05:45 AM.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
    Senior Firefighter /EMT-A, A Shift
    HESD / OFD
    "To me, the charm of an encyclopedia is that it knows and I needn't."

  9. #9
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    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    where i live, they're called PSOs. public safety officers. they go around in a police cruiser all day with their FF gear in the trunk and respond to calls when needed.

    Rookies make 85-90k a year tho due to so much overtime. and u cant be just one or the other. u have to be both. not for me

  10. #10
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    N2DFire's Avatar
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    Feb 2000
    S.W. Virginia


    Check with the City of North Myrtle Beach, SC & see how they like it.

    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless

  11. #11
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    Dec 2005
    Louisville, KY USA


    I know it is a little different but many airports are crosstrained.
    I'm getting ready to start at Louisville Int'l (KSDF) as a ARFF Firefighter/EMT/Police Officer.
    I have to go away for 5 months to the police academy but then I will work my normal 24 hour shift. 8 hours of my shift will be police and 16 will be fire/ems.
    I'm a fan of it and can't wait.
    Josh Ball
    FF/EMT - Zoneton Fire Protection District
    PSO II - Louisville International Airport
    Deputy - Bullitt County Sheriff's Office

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