Bay City commissioners vote to combine police and fire services - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Bay City commissioners vote to combine police and fire services

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(12/04/12) - It's finally decided. Two are becoming one. Bay City commissioners voted to combine their police and fire services into one public safety department on Monday.

Bay City is facing a $2 million deficit and this merger should help fix that. But it comes at a cost - 14 fire fighters will be laid off.

Officers and firefighters will be cross-trained for both law enforcement and fire services.

Many at Monday's meeting worried about losing all that fire-fighting experience.

"In an emergency situation it would definitely be comforting to know if police were involved that they are trained as firefighters as well, that's one thing, but the layoffs do concern me," said Casey Done, Bay City resident.

Tax payers say they want a chance to vote on the issue.

But Bay City Police officers say they're on board. They say response times to fires could be quicker, because they'll already be out patrolling.

The commissioners also voted to re-evaluate the plan once it's in place, and gather more public input.

They also plan to bring in a city with a public safety model already in place, to see what their experience has been like.

The plan is expected to save Bay County about $2 million each year by 2017.

The Monitor Township Fire Chief is in charge of training Bay City Police. Their six month training begins Tuesday night.

The 14 Fire fighters are expected to be laid off in July. We're told some of them may be offered a buy out.

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