Holland police, fire dept budget issues

Full story: WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan

The city of Holland has budget issues concerning its police and fire departments.
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1 - 20 of 33 Comments Last updated Dec 13, 2008
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John

Syracuse, NY

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#2
Dec 11, 2008
 
I see no reason why the new chief could not oversee both departments combined as the Holland Department of Public Safety. It's being done in much larger municipalities across the country.
Doug

Holland, MI

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#3
Dec 11, 2008
 
I agree. If they form a department of public safety, it will save them money in the long run and will also put more police officers on the street. Retiring from Kalamazoo City as a POS, I know first hand that combining WILL save the community money and lead to a better service for all!
Mee

Grand Rapids, MI

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#4
Dec 11, 2008
 
I agree, One person to oversee both areas. That person should also not be from around the area, or have ties with either department. Would love to see a qualifed minority apply.
Both departments really need a good community relations person. I have no doubt that the interms. are well qualified.
Matthew

Syracuse, NY

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#5
Dec 11, 2008
 
Explore a contract with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office as other municipalites have done with resulting substantial savings. OCSO covers the Holland area pretty heavily now anyway.
Thinking

Holland, MI

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#6
Dec 11, 2008
 

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Mee wrote:
I agree, One person to oversee both areas. That person should also not be from around the area, or have ties with either department. Would love to see a qualifed minority apply.
Both departments really need a good community relations person. I have no doubt that the interms. are well qualified.
What difference does a minority make?
As long as they are qualified, would you rather have someone not as qualified but a minority be in charge of the Public Safety Deparment I would not! I hope that is never a factor.

Is public Safety the best answer? If there is a large scale fire, who is there to do police duties? or is that the best time for crime to happen? Something to think about.
Mee

Grand Rapids, MI

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#7
Dec 11, 2008
 
given the dynamics in the Holland community, I was referring that such a QUALIFIED minorty would fit the community well. Of course safety is the FIRST issue by far. No matter you would receive the position, it will be a hard task.
Thinking wrote:
<quoted text>
What difference does a minority make?
As long as they are qualified, would you rather have someone not as qualified but a minority be in charge of the Public Safety Deparment I would not! I hope that is never a factor.
Is public Safety the best answer? If there is a large scale fire, who is there to do police duties? or is that the best time for crime to happen? Something to think about.
Hater

Elkhart, IN

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#8
Dec 11, 2008
 

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Doug wrote:
I agree. If they form a department of public safety, it will save them money in the long run and will also put more police officers on the street. Retiring from Kalamazoo City as a POS, I know first hand that combining WILL save the community money and lead to a better service for all!
Police and fire must be kept just that. The PD and the FD. You cannot have excellance if trying to do both. The quality of HPD and HFD has been obvious to me for years. Good cops and good firemen are good because they concentrate on the 1 thing, mixing the 2 would be disastrous.
Doug

Holland, MI

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#9
Dec 11, 2008
 
Hater wrote:
<quoted text>Police and fire must be kept just that. The PD and the FD. You cannot have excellance if trying to do both. The quality of HPD and HFD has been obvious to me for years. Good cops and good firemen are good because they concentrate on the 1 thing, mixing the 2 would be disastrous.
With the budgets falling apart they must get creative. If they don't look at combining they will see cuts in staff. It is happening all over. Just today I read FDNY is cutting the recruits program and closing stations. The days of providing seperate service are coming to an end. For a town the size of holland it only make good financial sence to merge. THEY WILL SAVE MONEY

Since: Oct 08

Holland

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#10
Dec 11, 2008
 

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Hater wrote:
<quoted text>Police and fire must be kept just that. The PD and the FD. You cannot have excellance if trying to do both. The quality of HPD and HFD has been obvious to me for years. Good cops and good firemen are good because they concentrate on the 1 thing, mixing the 2 would be disastrous.
Disastrous? Not likely. I can think of many agencies that combined without complications. Some of the better agencies are PSO.
Citizen

Holland, MI

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#11
Dec 11, 2008
 
So... The cost of training Police officers to be Firefighters and training Firefighters to be Police officers is not a concern? Are we to lower our Standards so employees of the city of Holland can do both jobs? I would agree to have one person to oversee both but not to combine both to a PSO. How about letting the Reserve Officers of HPD do more Police work since the mostly work for free and are better trained in law enforcement then a firefighter. Give those that are willing to volunteer for Fire service that option as well.
maybe they know better

Grand Rapids, MI

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#12
Dec 11, 2008
 
Durham NC was the first "large city" to go pso, and as such they were the model for which many other communities studied when they made the decision to go pso...Durham has also gone back to the traditional pd/fd....maybe they know better. One firefighter at say 45,000/year. One police officer at say 45,000/year= 90,000/year. Give each pso a 5,000/year raise for the additional responsibility. Now for the same two people, you spend 100,000/year. hmmmmmm. Just something to think about.
dumbcitizen

United States

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#13
Dec 11, 2008
 

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Citizen wrote:
So... The cost of training Police officers to be Firefighters and training Firefighters to be Police officers is not a concern? Are we to lower our Standards so employees of the city of Holland can do both jobs? I would agree to have one person to oversee both but not to combine both to a PSO. How about letting the Reserve Officers of HPD do more Police work since the mostly work for free and are better trained in law enforcement then a firefighter. Give those that are willing to volunteer for Fire service that option as well.
I'm sorry to say but training to be a fireman isn't rocket science. The initial cost will be there but you reduce the number of high paid individuals from the payroll. It doesn't make sense for a few officers and a few fireman to respond to one medical or car crash. I hate to say it but Holland fire isn't exactly a busy bunch, other than cleaning the station and washing their trucks. How will this lower the standards? Exactly how many fire runs do the city make a year? Not many.

You are worried about a lowering of standards but you want the reserve officers to do police work? They are not cops they are civilians whom have no training in criminal law and procedure and can't even make an arrest. They are not certified and are there to assist in traffic and large public events.

If you have fifty officers and fifty fireman and combine them to seventy five (example) the savings in payroll and benefits are huge.

Citizen, you have no clue.
Doug

Wayland, MI

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#14
Dec 11, 2008
 
The fire dept. has 26 of staff, police hve 61 sworn staff = 87. For a city the size of Holland pop.36,000 we DO NOT need that large of a staff. Combine the two departments to say 70 as mentioned above. Firefighters top out at 54,000 after 5-years plus benifits. I am sure police are around the same. Do the math, a savings of $918,000 per year!!
makesense

Holland, MI

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#15
Dec 11, 2008
 
Doug wrote:
The fire dept. has 26 of staff, police hve 61 sworn staff = 87. For a city the size of Holland pop.36,000 we DO NOT need that large of a staff. Combine the two departments to say 70 as mentioned above. Firefighters top out at 54,000 after 5-years plus benifits. I am sure police are around the same. Do the math, a savings of $918,000 per year!!
Thats a huge savings! The fire guys would probably resist...they have a cake job. But, I can't blame fire guys either, it takes a certain mindset to do police work.
Tom

AOL

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#16
Dec 11, 2008
 
If these cities are in trouble budget wise, it's because too many on the government payroll that arent pulling their own weight, or the government has given tax breaks to too many of the rich people with power.
Tom

AOL

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#17
Dec 11, 2008
 
Doug wrote:
The fire dept. has 26 of staff, police hve 61 sworn staff = 87. For a city the size of Holland pop.36,000 we DO NOT need that large of a staff.!!
It's not that they need that large of staff, it's what they can squeeze out of tax payers and just how far they will bend. They'll stop all crime fighting if need be, then when there's an increase of home invasions, they'll tell the tax payer that they warned them it would happen. It's time we restructure the government. They dont fear what the people want anymore and it is showing in crime and budget cuts of services, when it should be cuts in government employees.
Kelli

Whitehall, MI

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#18
Dec 11, 2008
 
Why, is this even important. How is Holland unlike any other city thats in the U.S. With the recent wave of crime in Holland they might want to add to the Police Dept.
DARWIN

Lawrence, MI

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#19
Dec 11, 2008
 
Tom wrote:
<quoted text>
It's not that they need that large of staff, it's what they can squeeze out of tax payers and just how far they will bend. They'll stop all crime fighting if need be, then when there's an increase of home invasions, they'll tell the tax payer that they warned them it would happen. It's time we restructure the government. They dont fear what the people want anymore and it is showing in crime and budget cuts of services, when it should be cuts in government employees.
Problem is this. Is there a house in Holland? If there is you need 14 to 20 people to put it out. Luckily, there are no buildings in Holland that are larger than a house, are there?

Holland FD, utillizing their current combination system, is marginal at best.
Hater

Elkhart, IN

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#20
Dec 11, 2008
 
Doug wrote:
<quoted text>
With the budgets falling apart they must get creative. If they don't look at combining they will see cuts in staff. It is happening all over. Just today I read FDNY is cutting the recruits program and closing stations. The days of providing seperate service are coming to an end. For a town the size of holland it only make good financial sence to merge. THEY WILL SAVE MONEY
When my house is on fire or being broken in to I do not want a mediocre fireman or policeman responding, I want a dedicated professional----exactly what Holland has now. A giant step backward going PSO. Just say no.
dan

Wayland, MI

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#21
Dec 11, 2008
 
Hater wrote:
<quoted text>When my house is on fire or being broken in to I do not want a mediocre fireman or policeman responding, I want a dedicated professional----exactly what Holland has now. A giant step backward going PSO. Just say no.
I lived in Grand Haven before, during and after the switch. The PSO's here are as dedidcated in each field as an independent FF or PO.

Do you think you will be any safer with police or fireman layoff's. I think not. Close minded thought process. You must be a fireman afraid that you might miss the big game in the lazyboy while getting paid.

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