I read an article in our local paper stating that both Sunnyvale, CA and Kalamazoo, MI use police cross-trained as firefighters.
Does anyone know if they staff stations? Or, do they work like a paid-on-call dept. where they need to send someone to pickup the truck?
If they staff stations, do they rotate between police and firefighter duties on a regular schedule?
Thanks in advance!
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02-27-2006, 10:54 PM #1
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- Apr 2005
Does Anyone Have Any Info On Sunnyvale, CA or Kalamazoo, MI?
03-01-2006, 06:37 PM #2
Kalamazoo being on the other side of the state from me, I can only pass along what I remember reading in past news articles. I know that until recently, they still had a few FFs left that refused the crosstraining, despite the 25% pay raise for doing both jobs.
From the Michigan Professional FFs webpage, www.mpffu.org,
Article about K-zoo and PSO in Michigan
And this one from a couple of years before:
Hot News From District 5
by W.James Leve
I would like to report on an article that was written by the Public Safety Chief of Kalamazoo, Dan Weston, in Easter Sunday’s paper.
The headline for the article was “Public Safety strives for ‘wow’ service.” I will just report on the part about firefighters.
“In 1983, Kalamazoo’s police and fire departments were combined, so officers serve as both police officers and firefighters. Why? For greater efficiency and better public safety.
This cross training saves Kalamazoo about $3 million a year, Weston said. For example (you’re going to love this one) only one firefighter is needed to ride in a fire truck. When an emergency fire-related call comes in, a public safety car goes to the scene first. The police officers in that car take off their jackets and hats, put them in the trunk and don firefighters’ garb. They are immediately ready for initial medical service or whatever is required, usually well before the fire truck arrives.
So you don’t need six, eight, 10 firefighters sitting around the firehouse waiting for a call. Our public-safety officers are already driving around ready to swing into action to deliver wow customer service.
The national guideline for the speed of answering 911 phone calls is 30 seconds. In Kalamazoo, the response time is 4.8 seconds.”
Of course, Weston comes from the police side of public safety and there are only five (5) firefighters left in department. So he could care less if they are ticked off. I also didn’t realize that all we do is sit around the fire station waiting for calls. I guess training, inspections, vehicle maintenance, station chores, reports and other activities that we routinely perform are not considered by Mr. Weston.
If I am not mistaken, about 10 years ago, there were 33 or so public safety departments in Michigan and now there are 23.
Durham N.C. was the “Leader” of public safety and the largest in the country and has gone back to traditional separate department “BECAUSE IT DIDN’T WORK”
Mr. Weston also fails to check with his own people to see how they feel about cross trained dual roles. I have trained with them (when the city allows it) and many do not think their system works. My department trained with KDPS last summer at some houses that Portage was going to tear down and we were told that training was the most about firefighting that they have ever had. This should give the citizens of Kalamazoo a great sense of security if their house ever catches on fire.
03-06-2006, 03:16 PM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
Thanks for the information!
03-07-2006, 04:20 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2000
- Sitting in my chair, listening to the scanner while the young kids respond
I'm 30 miles away, but last I knew they still staffed the stations with at least a driver. I have been in Kalamazoo when there was a call and it is something different. Patrol cars come from all directions. They pop the trunk, drop their gun belt and put on their turnout gear. They are the largest or close to the largest PSO department in the country. My personal oppinion is that firefighting has suffered but they sure do a good job of arson investigation.
Just my two cents.
IACOJ (Retired Division)
03-29-2006, 10:53 PM #5firefighter7160Firehouse.com Guest
There was a add a few months ago for Public Safety Officers (FF/COP) in Sunnyvale. Dont know much about them but they started out at $53,000 ....Not bad....
I was around that area last year. Real nice clean place. A town thats on the move.
03-31-2006, 05:43 PM #6
I am sorry to tell you but $53,000 in Sunnyvale is nothing. If you look that up in a cost of living comparison calculator online and compare it to Little Rock, AR. To own a house on 53,000 in Sunnyvale is the same as $19,763 dollars in Little Rock, which has probably one of the higher cost of living in Arkansas i would assume. So 53,000 isn't that nice. So bascally if you are making 20 grand in Little Rock you are better off the making 53,000 in Sunnyvale. Just something to think about.
Last edited by Squad1LT; 03-31-2006 at 05:48 PM.
04-01-2006, 02:20 PM #7firefighter7160Firehouse.com Guest
Little RockOriginally Posted by Squad1LT
04-02-2006, 12:28 AM #8
Yea, so 29,990 in Little Rock with owning a home is the equivalent of 80,426 n Sunnyvale. So the starting pay in Little Rock is much better than the 53,000 in Sunnyvale.
04-18-2006, 10:43 PM #9
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Bensenville, Illinois announced a public safety plan 3 weeks after the 2001 mayoral election where the firefighters backed a losing candidate. The police officers were forced to cross train and were awarded with a 12% raise. The program was patterned after Kalamazoo, MI and Glencoe, IL
It never really worked because the officers did not want to do it, they had poor training, and they knew they were going to be taking over firefighter jobs.
The state fire union got a state law passed in January 2006 to make it illegal to assign a cop to do a firefighters job. The program ended that day and the cops lost their raises.
The village then sued the state unoin as well as the local for pushing the state law.
Politics is grand is'nt it.....
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