1. #1
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    Default Public Safety Chief

    City of Toledo, Ohio Fire Chief, Mike Bell, is retiring. Toledo City Mayor, Carty F., says that instead of replacing his position and to save money, he's just going to make the Toledo City Police Chief, Mike Navarre, the Public Safety Chief overseeing both the Police AND Fire Departments.

    Agree or Disagree? How do you guys think this will work out? How long do you think it will last?
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    A big "disagree" here...

    A servant cannot serve two masters.

    PD work is PD work... FD is FD.

    Let's turn the tables for a moment.... the Police Chief retired, and the Mayor wanted to appoint the Fire Chief to oversee both departments...

    How long would it take for the Police officers to hit the streets picketing and saying that the City of Toledo is compromising public safety?
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    I second the Gonz.

    He basically summed it up, I'm just posting to add a vote for "no", under the delusion that my vote counts for anything.

    And, according to this thread he will also oversee some BLS transport, too.

    Would be curious to hear from some of the Toledo brothers.
    Last edited by ElectricHoser; 03-31-2007 at 11:50 PM.
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    Technically, upper management is upper management. It is about fiscal skills, and Political savvy, not "operations".

    However, the problem as I see it comes on the advocacy side. A Fire Chief and a Police Chief each advocate within city government for their respective services. If one man fills both jobs, there is a risk of Bias, and/or a potential for reduced overall services, as that person cannot fight for both sides with equal vigor.

    I think the town leaders/administrators know this, and feel that not only can they cut most of the salary of one employee (cuz he won't get paid as much as they BOTH did), but they can also force him to pick "one or the other" at budget time.

    Need another 4mil for new trucks AND police cars Chief? Sorry, no money, pick ONE.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    A big "disagree" here...

    A servant cannot serve two masters.

    PD work is PD work... FD is FD.

    Let's turn the tables for a moment.... the Police Chief retired, and the Mayor wanted to appoint the Fire Chief to oversee both departments...

    How long would it take for the Police officers to hit the streets picketing and saying that the City of Toledo is compromising public safety?
    You got it Gonzo.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricHoser View Post
    And, according to this thread he will also oversee some BLS transport, too.
    That's correct... that should be happening soon.
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    just to throw something out there.....

    if a fire chief can be in charge of both fire suppression and emergency medical services, who not a PS chief in charge of FD and PD?

    A fire chief can make the choice between a new pumper and a new ambulance.

    A fire chief (who may not be a paramedic) can be the highest ranking officer in a department that provides ALS level care

    so if it works for fire and EMS, why not fire and PD?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite View Post
    if it works for fire and EMS, why not fire and PD?
    I don't know of any departments that the fire chief isn't atleast an EMT-I. ut then there are the departments that I know are ran by 100% private services where the region that they are in is covered by 3 EMS private companies. Ok I'm gettign of track.


    The problem comes in where the police chief (who has never received ANY fire or EMS training/only has a Criminal Justice education) gets to run a fire/ems department. It would be no different if you turned the table either (meaning Police chief retires and fire chief become PS Chief).

    Put yourself in Chief Navarre's shoes. You have no fire/ems training what-so-ever and you can run a fire/ems department? Doesn't make sense to me. How about once you do get handed the PS Chief, you need big money to replace some units/equipment on the fire side and you want to replace some units/equipment on the PD side as well as put more cops on the road (which is an on-going problem in the City of Toledo). You take this page to the council/Mayor. They're not going to say, "Well we have the money to replace all of them" or they're deffinately not goign to tell you that you can get some many on this side but not so much on the other side... they're just going to tell you to PICK ONE. Which basically how it should go. You shouldn't run a PD and an FD. PICK ONE.
    Last edited by RFxplr326; 04-01-2007 at 11:36 AM.
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    Default Deep breath

    Jack Welch did a reasonably good job running GE for a long time, and I'm willing to bet he never made a light bulb or a jet engine - but working for government.

    While I like to know that the fire chief knows how to vent a roor, start an IV, and won't wet himself the first time he sees a puff of smoke none of those skills result in improved job performance.

    The fire chief and police chief are advocates for resources for the operations groups of their departments, and in a good place an advocate for their employees, shielding them from the idiocy of city hall.

    Bottom line is it can be done, it is not an impossible task, or a predesignated failure. The reason that there hasn't been a lot of successful programs is because people in the fire service occassionally get promoted for the wrong reasons. A good Fire Ground Commanders skill set may not equate with the skills necessary for managing a budget. Being a good fire fighter is a prerequisite for being a good company officer, but even some good firefighters make bad company officers.

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    It is about fiscal skills, and Political savvy, not "operations".

    Then you hand in the badge and the title "Chief" and choose Commissioner/Administrator/Director/Manager whatever you like to call yourself.

    The title "Chief" for both Police & Fire should be reserved for officers who may, and for major incidents will, assume operational command authority on an incident.

    If a person at the top is not qualified to direct operations, they've moved over to the side of the ledger with the politicians who exercise the ability to set policy but have no business saying, "Do this, don't do that" to personnel operating at an emergency situation.

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    There are a few cities in California that utilize the "Public Safety Department" model (PD+FD combined)...Sunnyvale comes immediately to mind, but I do know there are others.

    However, unlike what is proposed here, such "Public Safety Officers" attend both POST (police) and CSFM (fire) authorized academies and rotate through both "PD" and "FD" assignments on a regular basis--likewise supervisory and managerial positions are filled from the rank and file of their own or similar departments, so field supervision and management is provided by people who're both crosstrained and have practical field experience in both FD and PD ops.

    If they want a "Public Safety Department" instead of a separate PD and FD, that's the route they have to take--cross-train everyone and rotate personnel regularly through PD and FD assignments.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

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    CaptainGonzo that is what happened. PD Chief left and the city placed the Firs Chief over the PD. They put out for applications for the PD Chiefs job. Guess what? Thats right they hired the Fire Chief to perminatley (sp) fill the job of Police Chief and changed his title to Public Safety Director. The departments are seperate they just have the same boss. He had to go to the law enforcement acadamy to take the position. When I asked some of the PD guys about it they will not say, but roll their eyes. As far as CITY HALL, well the City Manager loves him.

    The FD guys (some of them anyway) think the same way.

    T.J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190 View Post
    It is about fiscal skills, and Political savvy, not "operations".

    Then you hand in the badge and the title "Chief" and choose Commissioner/Administrator/Director/Manager whatever you like to call yourself.

    The title "Chief" for both Police & Fire should be reserved for officers who may, and for major incidents will, assume operational command authority on an incident.

    If a person at the top is not qualified to direct operations, they've moved over to the side of the ledger with the politicians who exercise the ability to set policy but have no business saying, "Do this, don't do that" to personnel operating at an emergency situation.

    That is fine Dal if you accept the fact that the Chief needs to be a command/ops officer. In the larger cities, that need simply isn't there, and what is more important is a Chief who is an excellent Administrator/Director/Manager. The Deputies and Battalion Chiefs can run the day to day, and bring him thier needs.

    There are few Chiefs out there with advanced business or economics degrees. Lots with Various Fire Service/Safety Degrees, and they may get some entry level business skills (at best) within them, and what they happen to "Pick-up" along the way. Most of these guys are quite bright, and they do very well. But that does not mean they are performing at the peak potential.

    The fact is, I think you are correct that in many cities, a commissioner, Diriector, etc, is much better way to structure it, with the Chief's retaining operational control, and the Commissioners handling the politics. If that is the case however, I think it even more important that the Chief be assigned only one discipline.


    At some point, many Chiefs in those business roles are far enough displaced from ops and the evolution of firefighting technology to be of any real value on any major scene. That would be a good time for them to officially hang it up and become a Commissioner.

    They come from Blue Collar backgrounds though, so that is a tough sell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Let's turn the tables for a moment.... the Police Chief retired, and the Mayor wanted to appoint the Fire Chief to oversee both departments...

    How long would it take for the Police officers to hit the streets picketing and saying that the City of Toledo is compromising public safety?
    HAHA............... you've hit the nail on the head right there D/C Gonz!
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    In my town the Police Chief and Fire Chief are the same person. He has most of his training and background in PD, former Detroit PD officer, and very little fire training. He has even admitted that it is too much for one person to handle....and that is in a town of 8500 people!!!

    Most of the time it works out ok because he is a hands off, administrative FD Chief. He won't take Command and lets the rest of the officers handle operational stuff.
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    Idea: nationwide integration of PD and FD services as "Public Safety Departments"...yes, you all roll your eyes now, but just wait till ASP unveils their new "Expandable Halligan"! A TIC in every police car: no more waiting on the State Police helo to find your leg-bail suspects! No more dinging the cops for running into a burning building to make a rescue w/o PPE--they'll have turnouts and BAs in their trunks! It'd be a great setup!

    (I feel I should mention this post is intended for humor purposes only--just a disclaimer...I think the cop-FFs here would better appreciate the humor)
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    it can be done. One of the nearby cities has the same setup in a way... with a public safety chief.

    But, how they run it is they took one of the deputy chiefs, and basically put him in charge of the operation side of things. So, he is in charge of the fire department. So, if he needs anything, rather than going right to the city manager or mayor, he goes to the public safety chief and then so on. It basically put another step in the chain but the public safety chief said that he just wants to run the police and let fire do its own thing. It works out pretty well

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    this has happened around me in a small scale in multiple cities... fire always lost out (including gag orders and threats of loss of jobs)

    hope Toledo fares well.

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    That is fine Dal if you accept the fact that the Chief needs to be a command/ops officer.

    We shouldn't compromise on that title or the meaning of words.

    If you're not qualified for operational command, you should not have the title Chief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite View Post
    just to throw something out there.....

    if a fire chief can be in charge of both fire suppression and emergency medical services, who not a PS chief in charge of FD and PD?

    A fire chief can make the choice between a new pumper and a new ambulance.

    A fire chief (who may not be a paramedic) can be the highest ranking officer in a department that provides ALS level care

    so if it works for fire and EMS, why not fire and PD?

    Well since you asked. My FIRE CHIEF and also assistant FIRE CHIEF are both still licensed PARAMEDICS.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT View Post
    Well since you asked. My FIRE CHIEF and also assistant FIRE CHIEF are both still licensed PARAMEDICS.
    and I'm sure you will find other cities where that is the case.

    but lets looks at some bigger cities. Anyone know if FDNY's chief is a paramedic? what about Chicago? Philly? Washington DC? PG County Maryland? FairFax VA County? And if I'm not mistaken, the departments I just listed operate transporting ALS systems.

    and I don't think any of them has their Chief of the Department certified as a Paramedic.
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    I would bet there are a few big city chiefs and high-ranking officers who may not be paramedics now, but where at one time. I dont have those fact and figures for you Parasite, but around here it isnt a rare thing.
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    HELL NO! IT ONLY WORKS ON PAPER AND WILL DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN PD AND FD! GAURENTEED.
    Chief Bell was a great Chief. I met him a couple of times and was impressed.
    A police Chief should be all paperwork
    A fire Chief should be all BALLS! PERIOD!

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    I can say without a doubt I don't want the Chief of Department running an incident. He was a good fire fighter, a good company officer, a good Battalion Chief, and a good Chief of Operations. That being said, he doesnt use ICS everyday, he doesn't operate on Emergency Incident Scenes Everyday. Why would we want a person that rarely uses ICS and spends most of his days figuring out where we are going to get our next nickel to be in charge of emergency operations?

    There is little correlation between fire ground command skills, and budgetary / fiscal management. If a person cares about providing good services to the community, and is an advocate for public safety I don't care if he has never ridden in a fire truck, patrol car, ambulance, etc.

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    We have someone who can take command of a situation away from the fire chief or the police chief. That is the highest elected official within the jurisdiction.

    He does not have one iota of training in emergency services but has the right to be the I.C.

    A Public Safety Director would be the one to balance the needs of the fire and police to fit within the constricts of what the city wants to accomplish. Currently, in my city, the City Manager does that. The PSD would be an added layer of b*llsh*t to go through but if people worked the system it would be okay.
    Last edited by SamuelFire; 04-04-2007 at 02:57 PM.

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    Thumbs down

    Public Safety is a concept that works well for a small town. It is a very big bang for the buck. However, as the local government gets bigger it appears as though it is less efficient. Regardless, the FD is usually the redheaded stepchild in the Public Safety philosophy. This is normally due to the fact of what is about to happen in Ohio. The PS Chief will have a police background and care little about Fire/EMS emergency services. It usually hurts around budget time, too. The PS Chief will advance the Police agenda while Fire/EMS items are usually budgeted out of necessity.

    I would vote against it.
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