The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 31, 1986 · Page 24
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 24

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, January 31, 1986
Page:
Page 24
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jauuary a*, rage mu Old furniture can look new again... FREE ESTIMATES Fabric Samples •Homes-RV's •Carpet and Furniture Cleaning Available JERRY'S UPHOLSTERY Jerry Glessner 2665 Ray 913-825-8559 Combined police, fire jobs get mixed reviews FRATERNAL LIFE INSURANCE (IRA's AVAILABLE) Let Us Help You Plan For: * SAVINGS AND PROTECTION * RETIREMENT * MORTGAGE PROTECTION William R. Tacha 432 E. Jewell Salina,Ks. 67401 913-827-4012 Royal Neighbors of America 230-16th St., Rock Island, Illinois 61201 Life Insurance and Fraternalism Since 1895 KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The roles of police officer and firefighter have become blurred in scores of U.S. cities where the men and women in blue must know how to aim a fire hose as well as a firearm. Although people who perform both duties are common in small, rural or suburban areas, experts say larger, more urban communities are scrapping the traditional separation of police officer and firefighter in favor of creating a new job known as public safety officer. In Michigan this month, the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park decided to train firefighters to be police officers and vice versa, and the Battle Creek City Commission appointed a committee to look into combining the two departments. "The level of interest in it has increased dramatically," said Ken Francis, director of the National Public Safety Director's Association and the public safety chief in Gladstone, Mo. "Right now, there's probably 100 to 150 communities that have the total, consolidated departments," he said. "But in the last five years, probably 500 to 1,000 communities in the country have begun looking at it." The ability to increase police and fire protection without increasing costs has been the main reason why "public safety consolidation" has become a municipal catch phrase in the 1980s, said Robert Trojanowicz, head of Michigan State University's criminal justice department. "It has been a trend," he said. "And it's probably going to be even more emphasized in the future because of decreasing budgets in a majority of American cities." However, the concept may not work in large cities, Trojanowicz said, mainly because of the number of fires and numerous tall buildings, which require a specialized, full-time department. Critics of the trend, most notably the 160,000-member International Own a business? You'll appreciate the careful attention H&R Block can give your tax returns. Our tax preparers have been carefully trained to understand income tax law related to business. At H&R Block, we want to make sure you pay the lowest legitimate tax. 254 S. Santa Fe — Downtown 827-4253 Sunset Plaza 827-5817 Association of Firefighters, say the professions don't mix and that fire protection is ultimately subordinated to police protection. Officials in Kalamazoo, a southwestern Michigan city of 80,000 people, faced a court action and bitter union negotiations before the first group of employees entered "cross- training" in 1982. By mid-July, the last group of firefighters and police officers will have been trained and assigned to their dual-role duties, said City Manager SherylSculley. She contends the program has been a success, despite the lingering acrimony of the 40 firefighters who have refused to learn police duties. The 40 have been allowed to remain in their jobs, mainly as drivers and equipment operators. "Four or five years ago we received a number of complaints from people about never seeing an officer on the street," she said. "We don't get those complaints anymore." In 1980, the departments had 383 employees; the newly merged operation has 298. Meanwhile, the number of patrol cars on the street has more than tripled, from eight to 28. Also, average response time for fires is 20 seconds faster because of the extra manpower, she said. She said the key to boosting manpower is eliminating the time firefighters spend in their stations waiting for fire calls. John Gannon, president of the International Association of Firefighters, said the nation's largest firefighter union is convinced that consolidation is unworkable and doomed to failure. "We have numerous cases where it's shown to be ineffective," he said. "Crime has risen, morale has gone down, fire protection suffers." Whether the consolidation of the two traditionally separate services will work depends on the community, said Garry Briese, executive director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He notes that Durham, N.C., recently scrapped its decade- old system. Briese also said that police officers and firefighters didn't work well together. "I don't think you can mix the personality traits," he said. "The traditional law enforcement officer works very well in a military structure. The firefighter goes into it primarily to save b'ves, not to come down in a law enforcement capacity. . "The public safety concept is a good concept, except when we include the human factor." Francis disagrees. ' 'I don't think you could recognize a difference," he said. "The days when , you recruited the biggest, meanest guy to be a police officer went out 20 years ago." Firefighters are probably most resistant to the change because they have to give up the 24-hour shifts that allow them to have large blocks of days off, said Robert Siefert, public safety chief in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, which merged its departments in 1954. "As long as there are remaining firefighters in Kalamazoo, I expect we'll hear how the system is not working," he said. "They fight so hard to hang onto those 24-hour days. It's purely economic. Being a firefighter is almost a secondary occupation for many of them." Briese said the time a firefighter spends not fighting fires is not wasted. "A 24-hour schedule is a jealously guarded schedule, there's no question about that," he said. "But if a firefighter is doing his job, that time is going to be utilized. The days of firefighters sitting around playing checkers are long gone." Mary Gibala, a researcher with the Washington-based firefighters association, said the union was studying the number of merged departments nationwide. The department that experts most often cite as the model of combined departments is in Sunnyvale, Calif., a city of 115,000 people that adopted the concept 36 years ago. City Manager Tom Lecock said six to 10 groups from other cities visit Sunnyvale to study the system every year. He also receives more than 50 inquiries and requests for information annually. James Weaver 412 E. 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SANTA FE NOW THRU SAT., FEB. 8th Two of Mohawk's finest carpets in a tracery pattern for the "semi-formal" look. Of 100% Antron® nylon. SOCIALITE REVELATION Reg. $18.59 49 sq.fd. Reg. $24.99 I49 8 Rolls 4 Rolls CHARIOTEER Level loop, commercial grade carpet. Ideal for basements, recreation rooms, kitchens and commercial areas. America's*! Carpet Brand 9 Rolls Reg. $11.95 5R89 sq, yd, All Mannington Vinyl All In-Stock Carpet Pad $100 ><. jt. M pid nidi pirohaii el carpi! * Custom Window Treatments * Mannington Vinyl * Hartco Wood Flooring The best selection of wallcovering books available in this area! Wallcoverings fo Off Look For Us At The Salina Home Show! ANION nf lower Carpt (913)825-6260 Salina Mon.-Fri. 8:30-5:30, Sat. 10:00-4:00, Thurs. Eve By Appointment

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