Reporter Justin Engel at Michigan’s Bay City Times has been taking a very close look at a proposal to merge the police and fire departments in Bay City. The idea of creating a public safety officer model has police and fire union leaders very vocally leading the charge from opposite sides of this battle. The police, represented by the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM), are supporting the merger as are the police and fire chiefs in Bay City. The IAFF is opposing it.
Engel’s latest article in the series titled “Price of Protection” was posted this morning and it clearly shows the tension between police officers and firefighters. It should be noted that police officers in Bay City changed their union to POAM from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) about a year ago. The FOP opposes such a merger of jobs.
The six paragraphs below give you a good idea of how ugly this is getting. Click here to read the entire article:
For members of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) — a group that opposes the idea — the police union’s endorsement stirs resentment in people such as Kurt Wagner, president of Bay City’s firefighters union.
Wagner and other firefighter union members across the state say the police union’s leaders are the architects of the cross-training public safety model, a practice firefighter representatives say is aimed both at raiding their department budgets and upping police union membership.
One of the police union’s top statewide officials, meanwhile, says without firefighter cooperation in implementing the public safety officer model in certain municipalities across the state, fire unions won’t have a future in Michigan.
“I’m not afraid to say it,” said Dan Kuhn, the police union’s business agent. “The IAFF is martyring their guys over this issue.
“It’s probably going to lead to the elimination of more firefighters in the state.”
Kuhn said the firefighters union stands in the way of a necessary “evolution” in public safety, driven by dried-up municipal funds no longer able to sustain police and fire departments at long-accepted sizes.
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Also on STATter911 …
- MI firefighter alone inside house fire is burned. Incident brings up questions about Benton Harbor’s public safety officer model. – March 15, 2013
- Bah! Humbug! Did DC’s mayor play Scrooge for cops & firefighters over the holidays leaving them out of the holiday bonus? Vince Gray says no. Unions say yes. – December 25, 2012
- Baltimore union confirms two firefighters behind toilet based artwork of mayor & fire chief. Dispute within IAFF local over handling of the incident. – August 7, 2012
- News reports: No ambulance available for DC motor cop struck. 18 minute wait for PGFD ambulance. FOP head again blasts fire chief. – March 6, 2013
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