1. #1
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    Default police and fire consolidation

    I am looking for the truth on police and fire consolidation. This means it can not come from a directors point of view or from those who profiet in good saleries from this program. My experience with this is that it lowers moral of both sides and is hard to manage some one who has basically three bosses ( director, police sgt. and fire lt or capt.) I am looking for the good in this but have only found that the good is it allows a few to recieve good pay. Any comments are welcomed

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    Default just my 3 cents worth...Captains have to pay a little more

    Consolidation of Public Safety is a very bad idea put forth by either the politicians, who only look at it as saving the salary of a Chief officer (and I'll give you three guesses at which branch would get "shtupped" and the first two don't count), the Police Chief, who sees it as an opportunity to grab more power and $$$,$$$ for him/herself, or the media in an attempt to stir up a crapstorm to sell more newspapers or airtime.
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    No one has ever said "Gee the public safety officers sure have done alot of good for this town."
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    It's good to see you're doing your homework, because this arrangement DOES work very well in many places.

    Is it common? No.

    If it is implemented as a "take-over" by the police department, will it be successful? Hahaha, HIGHLY unlikely. CaptainG is dead-on in that respect.

    To me, these types of organizations need to be built from the ground-up by people who are truly interested in such an occupation, and who also have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to wear 3+ hats. Simply gluing the agencies together under a person who only knows one job is just asking for trouble. And I always wonder, if you're just gluing them together and not hiring triple-trained people, what's the point?

    Otherwise, it's just going to be a big headache. I have no personal experience working in a true public safety agency, but the ones that dabbled with it in the 80's around here fell apart because it was more a "take-over" type deal.

    Personally, I'd jump at the opportunity to work in such a department that encompasses fire, rescue, EMS, law enforcement, and emergency communication. Jack of all trades, master of none? Maybe, but talk to their employees about pay, benefits, training, opportunities for advancement, job satisfaction, retention, etc... and I think you'll find that when it's done right, it can be better than a "vanilla FD."

    I don't think it's for everyone, though, and you would probably run into this problem if you tried to "reinvent" an existing department. A problem, but it's not an impossible one to overcome.
    Last edited by Resq14; 02-09-2005 at 03:06 AM.
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    resq14

    I responded to this when he posted it in the chat room so I won't go into detail. I think you have good handle on the cituation. It takes highly respected people to pull this off. We're a smaller town of about 38,000. That also is important. A little harder to lie to or screw the people you must look at on an every day baisis. I have many times bragged about how great the relationship is between all emergancy agencies here. However I doubt my home (San Francisco area) would ever have any success with this. The anomosity between groups is to great. It certainly wasn't probable when I was a sheriff many years ago. I find it shameful that all can not work together more often for the good of all.

    JoJo

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    There's a few towns in NJ near me that started Public Safety Officer positions. They do police work and EMS, not fire. It has allowed them to staff BLS rigx 24x7 and gain some extra police officers when not on a call. I believe they do mostly administrative PD work though. So far, the PD has loved it, the vol EMS has been in support of it, and John Q Public says "Gee the public safety officers sure have done alot of good for this town." Why? because an ambulance always shows up quick, they see them around town at public events making their presence known, it was done up front with solid reasons for it and presented that way.
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    these types of organizations need to be built from the ground-up by
    Yes, but in already established towns that requires disolveing then two agencys and then makeing one.


    One classic example my professors like to use.
    What do you do when you have a bank robbery,house fire and cardiac arrest within 5 minutes of each other?

    If it is implemented as a "take-over" by the police department, will it be successful? Hahaha, HIGHLY unlikely. CaptainG is dead-on in that respect.
    Thing is from what I have read that is usally the case. Town admin points to the police chief and says your running the show.

    Every one says it take years to become a great firefighter,medic and police officer. Haveing to become good at 3 would take much longer.
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    Thumbs down Never Been Tried Here................

    In this area, the workload for both existing agencies is so high that there would be no benefit to consolidation. On an average day, Fire/EMS hits 350 incidents, Police do 1500+. If other factors become involved, such as severe weather, the numbers go thru the roof. Our staffing situation is pretty decent in most regards, Fire/EMS has over 800 Fulltime and nearly 3,000 Volunteers, counting ALL members including support and auxilary. Police is, last figure that I saw, around 1,300. Some Police officers are Volunteer Firefighters as well, but that is a personal lifestyle choice to them. One thing We're proud of is that we don't have the BS competition between agencies that NYC does. We work together daily, and it shows when things go downhill on an incident. We don't stick our nose in the other's business, but there are those little things that happen like a Police officer helps pull hose for an engine crew (outside, of course) until another unit arrives, or when a Cop is on a Traffic Stop, alone, and a FD unit "Just happens to stop close by to check a hydrant" or something. Cops will drop by our station a lot, due to our location, to use the restroom, do paperwork, or just take a break. (If you needed a Cop in our area duing the Super Bowl, I knew where to find a few ) We share Coffee and donuts, and everyone gets along well. I don't remember the last time a member of our department got a traffic ticket. And that's the view from here.
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    Originally posted by stm4710
    One classic example my professors like to use.
    What do you do when you have a bank robbery,house fire and cardiac arrest within 5 minutes of each other?
    You maintain adequate staffing so all three can be handled. What other answer is there?

    My point is, while "public safety departments" have failed in numerous instances across the country, there ARE jurisdictions where it works, and it works well.

    Dissolving existing departments is a real possibility, which is why you'd probably never see this happen in larger areas. Plus, heck, why screw with what you've got if it's working great? Not to mention... it's a little more difficult to find "triple crowners" as they're not all that common. But don't fool yourself: they do exist, and in my experience, many are better at all--LE, FD, and EMS--than someone who does only one.

    Change can be hard, for sure. But it's critical that we don't change just for the sake of changing, to be "cutting-edge", to make the nightly news, etc. Like I said, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. In an ideal world with ideal leadership and employees, municipal backing, and public support... can it work? You bet. But when you start to weaken any of these pillars, you are venturing onto thin ice.

    Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by Resq14; 02-09-2005 at 06:22 PM.
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    Originally posted by stm4710
    No one has ever said "Gee the public safety officers sure have done alot of good for this town."
    And that's not the case. Have more public safety departments failed than have been successful? Undoubtedly. But don't imply that it never works.
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    What I would like the best is the oppurtunity to go help someone or their family a couple days after locking their sorry *** up. No tension there, huh?
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 02-10-2005 at 08:07 AM.
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


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    HA!!!!!!!!!!

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    I think its tension, not tention!!!

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    Thumbs down

    A Department of Public Safety can be a great asset if well managed and if used in the right setting. However, I have no experience with either of those situations. Unfortunately, my two years of experience was with an agency that was essentially a police department with fire trucks.

    Even before the city I work for was incorporated, it used a DPS to provide police, fire & EMS. In the early days, it worked because the population was extrememly small (< 5,000 pop) and everyone was trained in all three areas. As the city grew, however, someone thought the DPS should have one fire engineer/EMT on duty at all times to drive the fire engine.

    The folks that served in this engineer's position were the same rank as an entry-level police officer. However, they had no opportunity for advancement. Only those employees trained as police officers could advance. Police could be promoted to shift supervisor and then division commander. Firefighters had zilch -- they couldn't even act as a supervisor. If the patrol sergeant assigned to a shift was off-duty, the next patrol officer in line was automatically in charge at fire/EMS incidents -- even if he/she had less experience or training than the fire engineer on duty.

    In less than two years, three police officers served as fire division commander -- whose job was essentially managing day-to-day operations. The turnover was so great because folks used it as a stepping stone to the commander's job they really wanted (i.e. patrol, investigations, etc). Granted, all of those guys had firefighting experience as public safety officers, but they wanted to be cops -- not firefighters.

    Fortunately, the city had vision five years ago and began the process of splitting the DPS into seperate police & fire departments. Even more fortunately, the citizens of this city stepped forward in 2004 and passed a sales tax to support the split, which became official on Dec. 20, 2004.

    Edited to add:
    I do know of instances "back in the day" where fire trucks were used in traffic stops and public safety officers working as firefighters arrested or cited citizens. Also, firefighters were once required to wear the same uniform as police officers -- even though they were (obviously) unarmed. Firefighting is dangerous enough without our citizens thinking that we're coming to lock them up.
    Last edited by cozmosis; 02-10-2005 at 03:22 AM.

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    Default

    We have numerous Public Safety agencies in my area of Michigan. Most get away with it because they are small, have few fires, and depend on paid on call, volunteers, and mutual aid.

    A neighboring dept. has about 40 PSOs-crosstrained FF/PD/EMT. There is 1 FF/Paramedic per shift who is not a police officer. He provides all the patient care, drives the ambulance to the scene (PSO drives it to Hospital) and drives the pumper to fires. He makes 50% of the PSO wage, so the job is a revolving door. They sent 10 PSOs to Medic class, they all failed-deliberately, no extra $ in it. They also have volunteer firefighters, and those are the guys who do all the interior firefighting. If we run a border call, the PSOs all step aside and let our guys do the work. It's obvious that they do little to no training in fire and extrication ops.

    There is a group of 5 small, rich communities just outside of Detroit that all have their own PSO Depts. If they would district, they could have a 2-3 station FD. But, because they all have to OWN one, they have their own stations, their own trucks, and 1 guy at each station to drive them.

    The only positive in PSO is the extra 10% the cops make for being one.

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    tomek why are you always bustin memphise34a balls man whose side are you on anyway? But then again I guess you get to use the spell check alot in the alarm office!!!!!! And I think it should be tomek936

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    Default Me...

    I think the idea sucks. Too hard to specialize in both
    fields well at one time. I mean- fire, ems, police, arson,
    traffic, haz-mat, heavy rescue, wildland, ICS, prisoner
    trasport, on and on...

    Some cities in California that do it-

    -Sunnyvale
    -Rhonhart Park (Always hiring, I wonder why?)
    -Santa Maria
    -Ontario International Airport

    Utah- City of Orem. Just talk to UTFFEMT.

    -Bou

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    Default P&F consolidation

    We had that experience back inthe early 90,s but only ened up with a police director and the loss of our own dispatchers. We also lost 1 manper shift for a while and it took almost 10 years to get back to 7 man shifts. The best place to research this is the Learning Resource center at the National Fire Academy. They have very extensive studies on this including Raleigh -Durham NC which just abandoned PSO about 2 years ago because it didnt work and was too expensive.. And the best part is the information is free. we used it when we faced that problem.

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    NEGATIVE!!!! NO PUBLIC SAFETY DEPT!!!!

    Our department has not been the same since. We are a little different because there still are 2 departments for police and fire but under one manager. Our City is 8500 people and growing rapidly. We have one full time Fire Inspector/Assistant Chief and 35 POC firefighters.

    4 years ago, the City wanted to get rid of our existing Chief and start a new way of doing business. There was a lot of struggles but in the end the Chief retired, EMS was seperated from the fire department and placed under the Police Chief, and they hired a "Public Safety Director." This system was to save money by not paying for a full time police and fire chief, making that one person.

    It was put to a vote to the citizens of the city to see if we should have a "Public Safety Director" or not. It was turned down shortly after he was hired. Now, his official title is "Police Chief/Fire Chief" and is in charge of all three departments, Police, Fire & EMS.

    Also during this time we were planning on building a new fire station. What we got was a large addition to the existing fire station for the police department. The fire department got a bigger meeting room, kitchen, and bathrooms. We actually lost 15 square feet of storage space. I agreed that the PD needed a larger facility and it is great for them and was desperately needed for a long time.

    Our "Fire Chief/Police Chief" has a background totally in law enforcement. No clue as to how to run a fire department. His arguement was at the time he was hired was that he had experience on a volunteer department. Turns out it was a very small town and he was on for 1.5 years. When he came in he said he would never be in command of a situation, never respond in fire apparatus, or be part of the actual firefighting operations. He said he would be an "administrative chief" and take care of city council meetings, etc. He made the 1st Assistant Chief the "operations chief" of the department who basically is the chief of the department.

    To make a long story short, in 4 years, going on 5 now, this has caused nothing but animosity between the police department and the fire department. It seems the police get anything they ask for. We keep getting our budget cut. Because of a chief who is more law enforcement friendly than fire friendly, this is what happens.

    We are at a point now of submitting a letter of no confidence in our Chief. He makes a great police chief but has no clue when it comes to fire related issues.

    On a lighter side of things.....I know of one place where a true public safety officer system works. Ashwaubenon, WI. It is a suburb of Green Bay, WI...Home of the Green Bay packers. They work one shift as a police officer, then the next as a paramedic, then the next as an engine crew. They make totally mad money and it seems to work out great for them.

    My opinion is not to be combined at all.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona, WI

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    If you live in a small enough town, your two police officers are volunteer firefighters anyway...
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    Red face Try this one

    Kalamazoo, Michigan (pop. 80,000) has a true public safety department. Everyone is trained and certified both fire and police.

    If you think it's wild to see a bunch of volunteers responding to the scene in pov's, try six or eight patrol cars.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
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    Default Re: Try this one

    Originally posted by pete892
    Kalamazoo, Michigan (pop. 80,000) has a true public safety department. Everyone is trained and certified both fire and police.

    If you think it's wild to see a bunch of volunteers responding to the scene in pov's, try six or eight patrol cars.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete... I heard it's called "KalamityZoo!"
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    Seems to me that you would spend more time in the classroom than on the job if you had to maintain certs in Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting, and EMS. It may work in some places, but most definately not here.

    It gives me the impression of a budget slashing technique that is candy coated to look as though it is a great benefit for the municipality.

    That makes it sound like something our municipality would try....what a shame.

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