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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Michigan cities considering combining police and firefighting depts to save money

    These days, though, that sense of community has been strained, and Harper Woods finds itself divided as much politically as it is physically.

    That's because voters on Tuesday will be asked to decide the contentious issue of whether to allow for the combination of the city's police and fire departments into a single public safety unit. Some police officers would be trained to fight fires, and some firefighters would learn how to patrol the streets.
    More here: 2 Michigan cities consider combining police, fire - chicagotribune.com

  2. #2
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    At first glance, this seems like a terrible idea. I know nothing about fighting fires and have no desire to be a firefighter. I respect what they do, it's just not for me. I have spoken to several firefighters over the years who feel the same way about law enforcement. It seems like if they do this, they will be requiring people whose heart is not in it to be doing two jobs that require an all in mentality. It seems dangerous to me and I wonder about liability issues. It takes a lot of training to stay up to date on law enforcement and I'm sure it takes the same for firefighting. Will they be providing the necessary training both ways for all employees? I may be wrong, and I reserve the right to change my mind, but i don't like it.
    "There is no 'nice' way to arrest a potentially dangerous, combative suspect. The police are our bodyguards, our hired fists, batons and guns. We pay them to do the dirty work of protecting us, the work we're too afraid, too unskilled or too civilized to do ourselves. We expect them to keep the bad guys out of our businesses, cars and houses, out of our face. We want them to 'take care of the problem.' We just don't want to see how its done."
    - Charles H. Webb, Ph.d


    The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "tweakerseeker" on Officerresource.com

  3. #3
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    "...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q


  4. #4
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    They considered it here a few years back. More officers were willing, albeit not happy, to learn firefighting if forced. Most firefighters had no desire to learn policing. I have to wonder if it was the shift thing. Most firemen I know make almost as much if not more money off duty than on, given the 24/48 shift. I was a certified volunteer ff/EMT and I had no desire to do both. I left the volunteers when I became an officer.
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  5. #5
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    I've heard of places where it works, and whether you carrying cuffs & a gun or hoses & a hard hat depends on your shift. But I think it's hard to maintain an equal level of professionalism when you split the duties like that. Today, both firefighting and LE require a substantial amount of initial training and ongoing training just to stay up to date. I know cops who were volunteer firefighters and gave it up because it was too hard to keep up with both...

    At the same time, it'd be nice to be paid to sleep...
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  6. #6
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    Sounds like a sweet deal for the Police. Huge wonderful meals three times a day, a few hours to work out in the gyms that each Fire Station has, and all those extra people when there is no one available for back up. I love my bothers at the FD, and we happen to have a great relationship. But they are two seperate jobs, with people that have seperate callings in life. Not everone wants to be a Marine. Some join the Army, Navy, or if they were really smart, the Airforce. (I was a Marine...not that smart) If it's working in the cities that have done it, that great, but I don't see it happening everywhere. Kinda like being a mail carrier and a garbage collector.
    The six o'clock rule
    I tell them to act according to the six o'clock rule, a phrase that causes most of them to say, "Huh?"
    I tell them to use this little test before they decide to do something. If they were to do what they're thinking about, and it became the lead story on the six o'clock news, would they be proud? Would their department be proud, and would their family be proud? It's a simple way to live your life both personally and professionally.

    Bruce Thomason


    "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." Mark Twain



  7. #7
    pgg's Avatar
    pgg
    pgg is online now Damnit, I'm hungry again.
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    There was a city near my old agency that did this. They would hire an officer then Train, FTO, and probation. Once he was done he would go to a fire academy. They found they can train cops to do firefighting but couldn't get firefighters to go the other way. They rotate through the houses. The guys at the firehouse have their gear and squad cars there to respond as cover if needed. What was really funny at times was watching a fire truck do a traffic stop.
    'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
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    possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'

    A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. Sigmund Freud

  8. #8
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgg View Post
    What was really funny at times was watching a fire truck do a traffic stop.

  9. #9
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    It's not a TERRIBLE idea, depending on how they do it.


    Woodbury, MN is well known locally as having cross trained police officers, either as firefighters or paramedics.

    They hire an officer and put them through FTO, and then send them to either paramedic school or get him/her certified as a firefighter I. I BELIEVE the cross training is optional...but even if it's not, it's known at the time the applicant applies that they'll be cross trained in something. So they should know what they're getting into when they apply. Officers cross trained as paramedics carry medical gear (including a defib and drugs) in their squads, and officers cross trained in firefighting carry bunker gear in their squads.

    It seems to work incredibly well for Woodbury. Not only does it save the city money but it really increases public safety. If I recall correctly, Woodbury has a 90% save rate for sudden cardiac arrest victims. I believe the national average is 10%.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.

  10. #10
    213th's Avatar
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    I wonder what Ace thinks of this...

    I'm just wondering what the benefits of this are? A person can only work so many hours in a day, and fire and police (presumably) have minimum staffing levels, so I'm not seeing a budgetary benefit to this. Unless they are combining the high level positions also, but I also don't see how you can be a fire chief and police chief at the same time efficiently. What happens if the shift level OIC is o/s at a large fire, lets say, 2 alarm. Across town there is a barricaded suspect/hostage situation. Is the captain going to desert command of the fire scene or vice versa? Could a career police captain really control such a scene as well as a career battalion chief? Would you want a career batallion chief newly trained as a police officer in charge of your barricaded suspect/hostage scene? Or would the batallion chief be just a patrol officer when he is working as police? If so, would they pay him commensurate with his time as a police officer instead of his fire salary, when he is on duty as a cop? I just don't see that flying.
    Last edited by 213th; 04-30-11 at 11:27 PM. Reason: add a thought
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
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    He who has the power, has the money.

  11. #11
    Cidp24's Avatar
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    This might be silly to some, but one of the things I was thinking about when they talked about it here is - What if I get sent to a grass fire or something early in my shift? I would NOT go around sweaty and stinking the rest of the day. I would just about have to go home, get a shower, and change clothes. That's a lot of extra down time.
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  12. #12
    Five-0's Avatar
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    I sure would like those Kelly days or whatever they are called.

  13. #13
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    It's done here at a lot of the airports.

    I think it could work well.
    I'm your huckleberry...

    Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!

    You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.


    I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
    but every girl I found was either one way or the other...



  14. #14
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    I would do it if I had to. It's just not my cup of tea.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  15. #15
    ChesCopPodz's Avatar
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    I could really only see a true hybrid fire/police department working in small cities with low call volumes for both jobs.

    I odn't think it could work in medium sized to large cities.
    The world would be much cleaner if blind people carried brooms instead of sticks.

    At communion, when the priest says "Body of Christ", I say "Thanks, I've been working out", then I grab the cracker and run back to my seat

    An amateur practices until he gets it right. A professional practices until he cant get it wrong.

    They've got us surrounded? Good. Now we can fire in any direction. Those bastards won't get away this time.

  16. #16
    JSO85360's Avatar
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    I think the idea of cross training is excellent. We do have to take the first responders course, but it's nothing compared to being a certified EMT. I was able to take the AED course, and have one in my car. But the liability issues are something to be taken into consideration also. I see how it could work in the small cities, but we have close to 1800 officers, six zones with three sub sectors in each, 6 11.45 hour shifts with five on five off, four on four off. A gold squad and a blue. I really dont see it happening to a city with the land mass and calls for service we get.
    The six o'clock rule
    I tell them to act according to the six o'clock rule, a phrase that causes most of them to say, "Huh?"
    I tell them to use this little test before they decide to do something. If they were to do what they're thinking about, and it became the lead story on the six o'clock news, would they be proud? Would their department be proud, and would their family be proud? It's a simple way to live your life both personally and professionally.

    Bruce Thomason


    "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." Mark Twain



  17. #17
    IndianaFuzz's Avatar
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    I did a ride along with a "public safety officer" in a township in MI back when I was in college still. The officer would work as a cop one day, then on another day would work as an emt/fireman. All the employees are cross trained in all three disciplines, and simply have rotations to decide who does what, when. Or at least that was the way I understood it. I thought it was a weird arrangement. And I would think you'd spend too much time having someone go through ALL of that training.
    CHIRP! CHIRP!

  18. #18
    luckyme's Avatar
    luckyme is offline The bastard you love, the hero you hate
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    Northern Illinois University PD officer's are all cross trained as EMT's. Had a class with the chief from there awhile back and he credited that with saving a lot of life's when they had an active shooter.

    I can see that being a decent trade, but I don't know about completely combining departments.

  19. #19
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyme View Post
    Northern Illinois University PD officer's are all cross trained as EMT's. Had a class with the chief from there awhile back and he credited that with saving a lot of life's when they had an active shooter.

    I can see that being a decent trade, but I don't know about completely combining departments.
    At least having a couple of EMT-A or so on the street 24/7 would be a good thing. But there's functional limit to the gear you can carry. We had a guy on a task force who was a medic for a bit. He ended up carrying a frigging backpack larger than a fair sized 3 or 4 year old around...

    For a truly combined department, you'd be looking at what, a year plus of training before they can do the job. 6 months or so PD, another several months fire stuff, and several more for EMT... And, let's be real, while there is overlap -- there are very different mindsets in cops vs. medics/firefighters.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance

    "Don't suffer from PTSD -- Go out and cause it!"
    -- Col. David Grossman, US Army, ret.

    All opinions expressed are my own and are not official statements of my employer.

 

 

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