The last few years haven’t been the kindest to police officers. In this edition of the Police Officers Association of Michigan’s podcast, POAM President Jim Tignanelli gives the union’s reaction to budget cuts, Detroit’s murder rate and the new Right-to-Work legislation.
Budget cuts affect more than police
With every stagnant economy comes budget cuts, and many cities in Michigan were forced to tighten their belts much tighter than ever before. This can be best seen in Saginaw, a city that once was at around 175 police officers in addition to 100-plus firefighters. Now the city has 80 or so officers patrolling the streets and 60 firefighters putting out flames, making the cash-strapped city more vulnerable to crime. But there’s a way to help fix the problem.
Cross train officers and firefighters
One of the most important things any municipality can do to save money is to convert from having a police department and fire department to a public safety department. The primary difference is that public safety departments have officers who are cross-trained in both firefighting and law enforcement. This allows cities to have fewer employees, but still maintain the amount necessary to effectively fight fires and crime. It also helps create a more well-trained workforce.
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