In a move to save money, all public safety personnel are cross-trained. The Los Angeles Times reports:
At a time of municipal budget crises, more cities are eyeing Sunnyvale’s model of cross-training all sworn personnel in police, fire and emergency medical services. At least 130 now employ some form of public safety consolidation.
Although training costs are steep and constant, the blended functions allow Sunnyvale to spend less on public safety than surrounding communities do — $519 per capita compared with $683 in Mountain View and $950 in Palo Alto, according to the most recent data available.
Most of the public safety department’s 195 sworn officers submit a preference annually for their next assignment, although detectives remain on the job for five years before they’re asked to switch to fire. There is little turnover, Lt. James Anton said.
“You go from robbery/homicide and the next day, you’re in the firehouse cleaning toilets,” said Anton, who will move to fire duty in February.
This model raises a ton of concerns. For example, there’s a trend in television news to make reporters shoot, edit, write and deliver their stories. It’s called “one-man-banding.” Often, something suffers in the finished product, whether it’s the pictures or the story-telling. Rare is the reporter who can do all of those things really well at the same time, especially when on deadline.
Combining police and fire is way more serious than putting together a news story. Public safety is at stake. There’s a high degree of specialized skills.
It’s an interesting model and I’m curious if it will spread.
Links of the Day:
– If Joe Morelle gets the number two assembly post, should he still serve as chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee? Meanwhile, the Irondequoit Democratic Committee, of which Morelle is a member, voted to appoint Morelle’s 24-year-old son as Ted O’Bren’s successor in the county legislator.
– Putnam County refuses to release pistol permit records to a newspaper. In Monroe County, one only need look on the clerk’s website. It’s cumbersome, but public.
– Was the nation indifferent to gun violence before Newtown, because victims were often young black men in inner cities?
– New Hampshire’s governor, congressional reps and senators are all women. So are the chief justice and state house speaker.
– A Yates County dog lost in a snowstorm was found with the help of an 11-year-old and his turkey call.