1. #1
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    Angry CRIME - The Fire Departments Fault?

    Get a load of this! What are you thoughts?

    Give Mobile police, and not Mobile firefighters, a big raise.

    03/17/02 The Mobile Register

    We have reason to be plenty outraged: A future teacher full of promise was felled by a random bullet fired by a lost soul who might have been rescued by just such a teacher.

    And when we're outraged by a random, sense less murder like Denise Cowan's,we struggle to make sense of it: We look for cause and effect, a breakdown in the system, something we can fix, someone we can blame.

    If we had banished teen clubs from downtown Mobile, would Denise Cowan still be alive? If we had passed a citywide curfew three years ago, or if Jackson Street had better lighting and more video cameras, or if we had never encouraged development of the bar scene in downtown Mobile, would that have made a difference?

    I don't know.

    How about if a couple more cops had been on patrol in the entertainment district that night? Downtown businessmen certainly have been screaming for reinforcements since the shooting.

    But per capita, downtown is already the most protected part of our city. Wouldn't assigning more patrolmen to the Dauphin Street precinct leave Trinity Gardens or Cottage Hill or Dauphin Island Parkway more at risk?

    Amid all of this uncertainly, here is one thing I know for sure: The city of Mobile doesn't have enough cops.

    We've been warned for decades, by the last three police chiefs.
    And the mayor and City Council members know that we don't have enough
    policemen: The force's authorized strength is 525 officers. Right now, we have about 474 on the force.

    Here's another thing I know with absolute certainty: Our policemen are way underpaid.

    Even given the sputtering economy, with city revenues down, we could afford to give our policemen more money -- if it weren't for a silly little rule that keeps the salaries of firemen and policemen the same. It's called "parity."

    If you want to give the Police Department a raise, you have to give the Fire Department a raise. (In fact, the way the political dominoes drop, you have to give all city workers a raise.)

    To get an idea of how fundamentally goofy it is to pay Mobile police
    officers and firefighters the same, all you have to do is call Shannon
    Weekley, personnel director of the Mobile County Personnel Board, as I did this past week.

    Weekley has been with the Personnel Board for 45 years, so she knows what she's talking about when it comes to the recruitment of patrol officers and firefighters.

    "Back in the'60s and'70s, interest in those jobs was about the same, and applicants would just go ahead and apply for both jobs, and take whichever came open first."

    But that changed during the'80s, Weekley says.
    The city continued to draw plenty of interest in the fire department, but applications for the job of police officer began to drop off.

    The gap is now cavernous. Weekley says the personnel board currently accepts applications and gives a test for firefighters about once every two years.

    "We have so many applicants that we'll never get to the bottom of that
    list."

    But they must accept applications and give the test for police officers continually.

    "We just don't get enough qualified people who are interested."

    She says the Police Department is also more likely to lose employees through resignation, while the Fire Department does not have that problem.

    "There is not the high turnover you have with police officers."

    Even with unemployment way up in Mobile, not many folks are applying. And officers are leaving the Mobile force for better-paying police jobs faster than we can train them.

    Ms. Weekley said she would prefer not to speculate on the cause of this difference in recruiting.

    "That would just be my personal opinion."

    But here's what I think: While both firefighters and police officers risk their lives for our community, there are big differences in those jobs.

    Firemen in Mobile work 24-hour shifts, followed by 48 hours off. When they are not fighting fires, they don't have it all that bad: They polish some chrome, take Sparky for a walk or perfect their recipe for five-alarm chili.

    They also get paid to sleep. And when they get off work, many have
    businesses or other jobs they can conveniently attend to in the 48 hours before they are due back at the firehouse.

    Police officers work a more typical 40-hour work week, never getting paid for snooze time, and their day tends to be much less predictable, and less congenial. They might spend the night in a smelly paddy wagon hauling drunks down to the clink, or they might pass the afternoon asking surly motorists for their licenses and registrations, or they might spend the morning in a
    courtroom with a smart young lawyer who's trying to make them look stupid.

    Thus, the stress of their jobs is more sustained. And while officers rarely fire their weapons or get shot, they sweat quarts of adrenaline
    contemplating those possibilities.

    A good cop should be well versed in the martial arts and the Bill of Rights, a skilled social worker, stunt car driver and psychologist, and a good sport about all those Krispy Kreme wisecracks.

    In Mobile, they start at less than $25,000 a year.

    Like firefighters, many police officers moonlight, working up to 20 hours a week as security guards. (And making way more money than they do on the city's clock.) Consequently, they are not nearly as rested as the crack dealers we send them up against.

    I do not mean to disparage Mobile's firefighters: They deserve the same respect as our police. But firefighters cannot transcend the law of supply and demand. In Mobile, firefighters' pay and benefits are sufficient to attract plenty of good, qualified candidates.

    And neither do I mean to imply that parity killed Denise Cowan. There will be no easy solutions there.

    But we need more cops.

    The mayor and City Council should raise police salaries until we have about 200 bright young folks eagerly waiting to become officers, just as we have 200 now waiting to join the Fire Department.

    That would be parity.

    You can write Mike Marshall, editor of the Mobile Register, at P.O. Box 2488, Mobile, Ala. 36652, e-mail him at mmarshall@mobileregister.com, or phone him at 434-8674.

  2. #2
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    Is parity something that is negotiated, or is something that the city decides to do?

    I doubt that the problems Mobile has with its PD is the direct result of one thing. It's probably a combo of poor pay, low morale, poor leadership, etc.

    Anyway, Ladder Man, the city won't even think of increasing pay for the FD if they've have more qualified applicants than they need. It's the old supply and demand debate. As long as people are lining up for the job, don't expect things to change much.
    Last edited by SilverCity4; 04-03-2002 at 06:15 PM.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  3. #3
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    Silver City

    Good point about supply and demand. People don't appreciate what the fire service does. Period.

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    If the firefighters are working 24on/48off shifts then they are workin 48 hours a week. I don tknow about Mobile but where I live even though the firefighters work 24on/48off, when they are off duty they always have the possibility of being call in to the station or to the scene for fire where more manpower is needed. Also would you rather have people sleeping at the fire station waiting for a fire or woupld you prefer to have someone on their other job having to drive to the station, get the truck and then drive the truck to the fire? Another thing is that all you see is tefirefighters sleeping but they can only sleep after they get their daily chores done around the station some of these chores are making sure each truck at the staion has everything it needs on it and making sure everything works properly, cleaning up the station,and drilling. Also if an officer is working at night you dont think he could turn thevolume up to high on his radio and rest his eyes for a little while,thepolice officers only have to work a 12 hr shift they can go home and get some sleep, the firefighters cant stay awake for 24 hrs straightunless you want them doing ****-poor job at the scene due to lack of sleep. The firefighters do a whole lot more than you see.
    Sometimes you might see a firefighter doing nothing but thats because he has gotten all his chores done. Maybe if the police would do theur job in keeping crime down they wouldnt have so much to do. IF you see firefighter doing nothing that means they are doing their job in protecting the community and educating them in fire prevention. So thenext time you decide to go nouthing off about how police officers do more than firefighters It hink you should stop and think about it and look into the actual day of a firefighter in your community. Do you want to know the worst part about this? You just gotput in your place by a 16 year old who isnt even a junior fireifhgter or fire explorer,Im just the son of a firefighter. Thank you very much.
    LADIES LOVE ME.
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    Ladderman that post wasnt aimed at you it was aimed at the person who wrote that editorial or watever it was.I wanted to make sure you knew that
    LADIES LOVE ME.
    FLAMES FEAR ME.

    "I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THIS FLAG, IF THAT BOTHERS YOU WELL THATS TOO BAD!" AARON TIPPIN

    If you wish to burn our flag please remember to wrap yourself in it first!!!

    ALL SOUTHERNERS ARE EXEMPT FROM ANY AND ALL OF MY YANKEE COMMENTS ON ANY AND ALL FORUMS.

    THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!!!

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    I felt the same way when I read it firefightermatt_69

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    Hey Ladder man just to let you know I emailed this page to Mike Marshall so he could see what I had to say and how we feel about being looked at like we're getting paid for playing around and sleeping.
    LADIES LOVE ME.
    FLAMES FEAR ME.

    "I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THIS FLAG, IF THAT BOTHERS YOU WELL THATS TOO BAD!" AARON TIPPIN

    If you wish to burn our flag please remember to wrap yourself in it first!!!

    ALL SOUTHERNERS ARE EXEMPT FROM ANY AND ALL OF MY YANKEE COMMENTS ON ANY AND ALL FORUMS.

    THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!!!

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    Mike Marshall lost me real quick:
    A future teacher full of promise was felled by a random bullet fired by a lost soul who might have been rescued by just such a teacher.

    "Random bullet fired by a lost soul"? I would have been more realistic "felled by a low-life punk who needs to be punished severely".

    When the heck are we going to take responsibility for our OWN actions and not blame the "system"? How did this editorial go from a punk killing someone to pay parity? How on earth do they coincide?

    "Oh, but it's not the lost souls fault"

    Attitudes like Marshall's is what is ALLOWING (not blaming) crime like this to continue. How's that for placing blame.

    I need to quit, I'm pounding on my keyboard!!!!!
    Last edited by jdm2267; 04-06-2002 at 08:26 PM.

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    These are the word's of my 12 year old brother who also has a problem with what I just read him.

    This is not aimed at you ladder man but it IS aimed at Mike "I DONT KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT" MARSHALL. YOU OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF, because what you said was the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Contrary to what my brother (firefightermatt_69) said the fire dept actually works on an average of 56 hrs a week without over time. Plus they have to work a part-time job to make ends meat just like police men. Now like my brother said police men only have to work 12 hr shifts so they can go home and sleep firemen cannot go home and sleep they have to stay at the station therefore they sleep there unless you want them doing a ****-poor job at the fire, mva, or medical call. If they do a ****-poor job someone can get severely hurt or even killed, then you would probably be bashing the fire dept again because they dont get to sleep and therefore they do a ****-poor job and someone is hurt or killed. Once again you have been put in your place, but this time it was by a 12 year old who isn't a firefighter. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
    LADIES LOVE ME.
    FLAMES FEAR ME.

    "I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THIS FLAG, IF THAT BOTHERS YOU WELL THATS TOO BAD!" AARON TIPPIN

    If you wish to burn our flag please remember to wrap yourself in it first!!!

    ALL SOUTHERNERS ARE EXEMPT FROM ANY AND ALL OF MY YANKEE COMMENTS ON ANY AND ALL FORUMS.

    THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!!!

  10. #10
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    Default Interesting Editorial

    It is important to remember that editorialists are not required to include any scientific evidence in their hypotheses. This guy obviously doesn't understand that people like him are responsible for the lack of interest in the law enforcement profession. In his first line he sympathetically refers to the perpetrator as a "lost soul". He then goes on to blame the lack of police for the unfortunate death of the teacher. It is a typical liberal response to the problem of crime in this country.
    The fact is that the police are not here to protect us. They are here to investigate crimes and enforce the law where they can. The only way that the police can possibly protect you from violent crime would be to assign a police officer to every citizen. That is just not going to happen.
    It is up to each individual adult to protect both themselves and their families from the "lost souls". However, to accept this, the left would have to agree that each individual is constitutionally guaranteed the right to carry a firearm for personal protection.
    This guy is also one of those who walk by the firehouse and see us playing around or polishing the truck and he thinks "I can't believe we are paying ten of them to do that!". But later when his house is on fire he's wishing he was paying thirty of us to do it. Firefighters are not paid for what we do most of the time, we are paid for what we are WILLING to do all of the time, even off duty.
    The liberal media has stripped just about all of the dignity and pride out of the law enforcement community, constantly hounding them for violating some BS civil right or for writing tickets instead of "stopping a real crime" somewhere else. The criminal is never guilty in the eyes of these liberals, just a victim of something that happened to them earlier in their life. Its no wonder that no one wants to be a cop.
    My father was a city cop here in Cincinnati for 28 years. He loved the job when I was kid in the sixties and seventies. Then something in the job changed. I don't know what it really was. But by the late eighties when I wanted to become one, he sternly advised me that it was not the job he had when he was young, and advised me to follow my uncle's footsteps and become a fireman. Best advice I ever received. I'm sure, because I know of other firefighters who also had cops for fathers, that other cops tell their kids what a rotten job it really is anymore, and that kind of truth spreads to others outside the family.
    Here in Cincinnati, the cops do make more money. Guess what. They still can't recruit and retain the manpower. They hire any age, have lower standards, better advertising of the positions, yet few show up to take the police test. People show up the night before to wait in line just to sign up to take the fire test.
    That guy doesn't have clue what he is talking about.
    See You At The Big One

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    This reporter obviously doesn't know that the fire dept. actually does more than fight fires. We do EMS, technical rescue, HAZMAT, service calls and any other thing that people call us for that they think we can solve. Because Mobile is an urban area I would be willing to bet that they are relatively busy. Police and fire depts. are like comparing apples and oranges. While you may need 2 or 3 cops at a scene to perform; to fight a fire, work a code, mitigate a HAZMAT incident, or rescue someone from somewhere where they shouldn't be requires more. Scheduling is better because FF's are exempt from overtime to 56 hrs some places, 48 in some or not at all like in NY State. Also on average cops make more than us. If Mobile has parity then BOTH jobs pay about the same. Work a second job, yes for most of us to make ends meet and give a better life for our families we need to work other jobs. In RI the cops get details out of the ***. I know cops that between regular pay, OT, and details made better than $100,000 last year. The oppurtunity is there. Also like fireman george stated, there is no dignity in being a cop. The chief of my volly house has been a cop for the last 17 yrs. He can retire next year @ 50% and he will only be 38. He can't wait, because he is starting to take fire dept. tests to embark on his 2nd career because he is tired of being a cop. In Providence there is a lot of controversy surrounding the police dept. 2 yrs. ago a black cop off-duty was shot and killed by 2 white cops at the scene of a disturbance. He was wearing a hoodie, holding his gun sideways gangsta style, did not display his badge and ignored repeated commands to drop his gun. The black clergy in Providence turned this into the biggest race problem going. A white cop in Providence cannot stop a minority without it being turned into a racial issue. The clergy, themselves looking to be the next Jesse Jackson and Al Sharptons, constantly challenge the police. They also made a big deal
    2 yrs. ago when the fire dept. was testing. They want everything handed to them. So would I want to be a cop in Providence, where already 25% of the 550+ cops are minorities knowing that many were hired because of quotas? NO. But this stump who wrote this didn't take the time to call more than one person. If he wanted a real view he should have went and asked the cops themselves what the job is like. Maybe he would have found the right answer instead of ASSuming
    what he said was correct.

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    On behalf of all the members of the Mobile Fire-Rescue Dept., I would like to thank everyone for their support. Over the past three weeks firefighters from all over the country have E-mailed, snailmailed, and phoned comments to the Mobile Register, giving a loud voice of protest to Mr. Marshall's editorial. However, neither the Register nor Mr. Marshall have printed a clear retraction or apology.

    In our city, the issue of firefighter/police pay parity has been debated for several years. All sides give points and counterpoints, etc, etc, to the argument. The Fire-Rescue side is willing to continue a reasonable debate. But, the wording of this editorial is clearly insulting. THAT is the real problem. And nothing less than an admission of inappropriate and uncalled-for statements, along with a public apology will be accepted.

    We have damn good street officers in our Police Dept. They aren't responsible for this atrocity. We still stand united.

    All of this stems from the political position of our IAFF Local (L1349) in the last mayoral election. The Mobile Register is generally considered a conduit for hizzonor's propaganda, so this is just the beginning of some payback. However, it's backfiring bigtime. He's tried to use the devide-and-conquer strategy to break the union-and almost succeeded at one time-for years. This one editorial has brought us together as nothing else has in my fifteen years of service.

    Again, thanks everyone.

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    A point I missed in my last post is that money is not what drives us to be police officers or firefigters. This guy obviously can't see past the dollar signs. Ask any cop out there what his motivation for joining was and he will say because he wanted to change things, make things better. After a few years reality sets in and he realises he is not just fighting crime, he is fighting City Hall, the press, the local "Clergy", and every other liberal you can think of. If he stays with it, it ain't for the money. If this guy was a real man, he would understand that everything isn't about cash. What a putz. Same kind of moron that equates sportstar and hero. I guess he figures if you pay enough, folks will line up to shovel $hit too.
    See You At The Big One

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    EMS, FF's, Police, and Teachers are all underpaid.

    I don't care what excuss city officials come up with. All those services deserve more. EMS, FF's, and Police save our lives and teachers help our kids get jobs and keep the country going.

    Anyway, I heard this saying once and I like it. Sometimes it works well in politics and in our legal system.

    "Common sense isn't that common." Just had to throw that in.

    Oh, and fireman george I completely agree that these jobs are not about money. The rewards really do come with the jobs. I honestly believe that, but my pet peeve is mainly about the police who risk their lives every single day and get paid just enough to get buy. That is not right in any way. Most FF's can have a 2nd job if they need too, but it's a lot more difficult for the police.
    Last edited by Jedimike007; 04-14-2002 at 08:49 PM.

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