Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is pushing a plan to combine police and fire fighter services in the state.
The plan is a part of Snyder’s campaign pledge to reinvent Michigan government and to make the state financially sound.
Fire fighters say this is perhaps the greatest battle they face yet and that says a lot in Michigan where fire fighters are fighting a series of political attacks.
Mark Docherty, president of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union tells the Frontline Blog,”This system does not save any money,” said Docherty. “All it does is put more police officers on the streets at the expense of fire fighters. It destroys your fire department.”
Fire Fighters have hired a public relations firm to help with a statewide campaign to present the facts that clearly show that cross training of police and fighters doesn’t save money and only destroys the level of fire service in communities.
If approved, Snyder wants to model his plan after Kalamazoo – the largest city in the country to merge services.
The Kalamazoo public safety chief tells the Detroit News his city saves $6 million a year by using 243 public safety officers instead of separate police and fire fighter departments.
The executive director of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police has voiced his hesitation at the governor’s idea. John Buczek said finding a system that works for each individual community backed by good research works best.