Why Do Firefighters Make Substantially More Than Police Officers in Davis?

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davis_firedepartment.jpgLast night at the Davis City Council meeting, the city unveiled the budget.  Because the budget itself did not get to council until late in the afternoon, the city generally spoke in generalities rather than specifics.  In the coming days and weeks, we will look at the budget itself more closely.  For now, we want to focus on one particular issue that arose during the course of council discussion.

Finance Director Paul Navazio suggested that part of the more than three million dollar budget deficit will be closed through contract negotiations.  Mr. Navazio is proposing somewhere around 860,000 dollars or so of the budget will be closed through contract negotiations.  The question then comes to where should that come from and how should the city proceed with negotiations.

One line of questioning came from Councilmember Lamar Heystek who posed the question why is it that firefighters make substantially more at comparable positions than police officers.

The Vanguard has done considerable research into this discrepancy and the numbers are really misleading in two specific ways.

Raw_Police-Fire_Comparison

As one can see from this graphic, a raw comparison would seem to suggest a slight but not overwhelming advantage in the actual average salary for firefighters in the city of Davis versus police officers.

But there are two problems with this analysis, one of which was discussed during the meeting, the other was not.

The first problem which was not discussed is that in 2008, there were just eight employees in the Firefighter I category and 28 in the Firefighter II category.  On the other hand there were 47 in the police officer category and 10 in the police sergeant category.

Thus an analysis that simply makes a one-to-one comparison, even if applicable, would distort the numbers and thus the salaries.

But as we learned, Firefighter II is not the equivalent to a police sergeant.  In fact, a police sergeant is most comparable to a fire captain.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek asked Bill Emlen what the comparable front line supervisory positions were for police and fire.

City Manager Bill Emlen responded:

“It’s difficult to compare because it’s not apples to apples since they have different functions.”

He then offered:

“I would have to put some equivalency between a captain and a sergeant and lieutenant.”

Lamar offers sergeant and a fire captain as a more applicable comparison which Police Chief Landy Black agrees with.

“Yes the police sergeant is the first line of supervision in the police department.  It would be difficult to compare the actual job duties, with the first line of supervision in the fire department, but it is our first line of supervision.”

During the course of question it was determined that at the top step there was roughly a $20,000 discrepancy between police sergeant and fire captain.

Councilmember Heystek:

“Just under $20,000 between police sergeant the top step and fire captain.  Why is that?”

Bill Emlen responded:

“There’s a lot of variables at play.  I think as you know over the number of years that these various salaries have been set through salary analyses as well as through the negotiation process.  Doing market analysis and things of that nature it has resulted in the current salaries that we have.  Particularly in the last few years, when we’ve compared to other cities, it has certainly driven up the salaries of some positions over others.”

But it is worse than that.  It turns out a police sergeant actually makes around $5000 less than firefighter two (and its actually worse in practice as you see from the graphic above).

Councilmember Heystek asks Fire Business Manager Kathy Willhoff whether the Firefighter II position carries with it, supervisorial duties.

“A Firefighter II has no supervisory responsibilities unless they’re acting as an acting captain.”

Councilmember Heystek:

“A FF2 makes about $92K, so that would be about $5000 more than a police sergeant with supervisory responsibilities, is that correct?”

Mr. Emlen:

“Correct, based on what we’ve heard here this evening.”

Responding to the question of why, Mr. Emlen opines:

“Once again there’s a lot of factors in play, it’s certainly something to look at.  I understand your concern.”

Here is a more accurate reflection of the comparable positions.

Police-Fire_Comp2

This graphic gives the fuller picture.  The other point worth noting is that the upper level positions–fire division chief versus police captain and the two chiefs have identical salaries.  The difference in salaries only lies with the positions that are union positions which go up through fire captain on the fire side and to sergeant on the police side.

Councilmember Heystek then looks at one consequence of the discrepancy, the ability to recruit quality candidates.  He begins by asking about the ability to get qualified candidates for police as opposed to fire.

Mr. Emlen:

“That has turned a corner a little bit, but in general it has been a challenge to get qualified candidates for police positions.”

Chief Black:

“The last couple of recruitments had less than a dozen applicants.” 

This was for two to three open positions.  And the Chief would later mention that often only three of those applicants would actually be fully qualified.

On the other hand, Kathy Willhof from fire suggested 78 applicants for the last position and often that number has been considerably higher.

Navazio is asked by Lamar how we account for the discrepancy:

“I don’t know if there’s an easy answer to account for it.  Historically, my understanding, is we generally tend to get more applicants for fire positions than we do PD.  I agree with something the Chief [Landy Black] said earlier that they’re fundamentally different roles and different positions that attract different folks.  And dovetailing on something that Bill [Emlen] said earlier at least the way we’ve looked at compensation issues that I’m aware of has really been looking at our fire compensation structure relative to other agencies that are recruiting and hiring firefighters and likewise we tend not to look at internal equity or have not between those two. 

There was a period of time as Bill said earlier that we had to do some incentives for PD recruitment because of combination of fewer folks choosing law enforcement and coming through the academies and the typical channels to fill those positions.”

But as Councilmember Heystek would point out, the issue of internal equity is one that we have to examine.  He began raising the key question as to why the structure is the way it is.

Neither the City Manager nor Finance Director would say it outright, but the reason for the discrepancy is straightforward–there is disproportionate power by the firefighters union as opposed to the police union and that is reflected in the growing discrepancy in the two compensation packages.  Moreover, one reason for the differential in ability to recruit has to be compensation.

Should there be a difference in the compensation between the two public safety departments?  How wide should that be?  And is it in the right direction?

These issues need to be discussed and addressed more fully in the future.

It was announced that on June 16, 2009, there would be a presentation on the fire staffing findings from Citygate.  Hopefully that will continue to shed light on this issue.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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47 thoughts on “Why Do Firefighters Make Substantially More Than Police Officers in Davis?”

  1. David M. Greenwald

    I have to pick up the public records request to see what the actuals were.

    But in terms of the budgeted, lower end of the steps, here’s what they were in 2001-02:

    FFI: 44,225
    Police Officer: 43,888

    FFII: 48,653

    Police Sergeant: 51,443

    Fire Captain: 54,491

    So at the bottom end, there was about $300 difference in salaries, Sergeant made more than FFII and was fairly comparable to Fire Captain (difference of $3000 in 2001-02 and around $20,000 in 2008).

  2. David M. Greenwald

    I should have included this in the initial report, but it didn’t come up last night.

    The bulk of that difference comes in the last MOU.

    Firefighter MOU:

    June 20, 2005 10% Salary Increase
    June 19, 2006 8% Salary Increase
    June 18, 2007 8% Salary Increase
    June 30, 2008 6% Salary Increase

    Police MOU:

    2006-07: 6%
    2007-08: 3%
    2008-09: 4%
    2009-10: 3%

  3. VFD all the way

    easy to solve with a volunteer fire department…

    Yes both roles involve personal bravery and risk, but the risk for a Davis firefighter is that there might be an accidental injury, while a Davis PD has to deal with people who might intentionally try to kill him. Its not like we import dangerous fires from out of the area. But we do seem to attract some pretty bad folks from Woodland and West Sacramento and even the Bay Area. I think that we need to end this abuse by the Fire Fighters Union. Yes they bought their councilmen fair and square, but its time to end their dominance.

  4. Phil Coleman

    The salary discrepancy between first-line supervisor in the fire service (Captain) and the police (Sergeant) cannot be justified by a comparison of duties and responsibilities. In fact, the Patrol police sergeant in Davis has one of the most responsible jobs in the entire city.

    A patrol police sergeant in the off-hours (16 hours daily), and all holidays (24 hours) is often the ONLY supervisor for the entire city operation that is on duty and operational. This position is called, “Watch Commander or Supervisor” but the more appropriate title should be “City Leader.”

    He or she is the first point of referral for EVERY thorny problem that comes into the police dispatch center. And you would be simply amazed at the frequency that this occurs, and the types of problems that are presented to this first-line police supervisor. The problems go well beyond the first-line supervisor rank and the problems often go beyond the police responsibility. And the reason you never hear about this, is because this problem-solver does so well and so often that few outside the police structure ever hear about it. Vary rarely does the first-line police supervisor feel the necessity to refer a received problem to someone higher, sitting or sleeping at home.

    If we were to compensate supervisors relative to their level of responsibility and complexity of decision making, patrol supervisors would be entitled to much more, more than any other first-line supervisor in the City, and more than many 2nd-line managers. It would be impossible to justify Fire Captains making more money than Police Sergeants based on workload, training requirements, working conditions, span of control, hazard potential, or any other objective standard. If anybody disagrees, call for a comparison study.

    Changing subjects slightly, the following is a masterpiece of understatement by the Davis City Manager:

    “That has turned a corner a little bit, but in general it has been a challenge to get qualified candidates for police positions.”

    Mr. Emlin was referring to the recruitment efforts of fire fighters verses police officers. The fact is, and always was, that police recruitment is many more times more difficult than for fire fighters. The reasons for this huge discrepancy are many and too involved to detail here. However nobody dare justify fire fighters getting more money than police because of recruitment difficulties. If anything, the reverse is true.

  5. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]The fact is, and always was, that police recruitment is many more times more difficult than for fire fighters. The reasons for this huge discrepancy are many and too involved to detail here. However nobody dare justify fire fighters getting more money than police because of recruitment difficulties. If anything, the reverse is true.[/i]

    Maybe “dare” is a little bit more aggressive than necessary, but I was going to ask exactly this question. David should have said more about it, because the fact is that sometimes oranges are more expensive than apples, even if you personally may think that this apple is equivalent to that orange.

    If you are right, then it sounds like police and firefighter salaries truly are out of balance in Davis. (Although it is not as simple as counting applicants; the question is whether they can find the applicants that they want.) What are the analogous salaries in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Woodland, etc? This is not to say that Davis should simply copy payroll schedules from the rest of the region; difficulty of recruitment should be the more direct concern. Even so, comparing across towns is a relevant data point.

    Another question is, what is the workload of Davis police and firefighters versus those of other towns in the region? How many police or firefighters should Davis have?

  6. Greg Kuperberg

    Sorry, I did not read everything just yet. I see now that David actually did devote some words to some of the questions that I posed in the previous comment, or rather quoted Bill Emlen because Heystek very sensibly asked him the same questions.

    The problem is that the answers quoted here smack of hand-waving. Prevailing wages and workload are basic questions that deserve good answers. Would it be difficult to do this homework independently?

  7. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Don’t forget Vallejo.[/i]

    Now that is an ironic comparison ([url]http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/21/MN35V5V9I.DTL[/url]). Among the highest firefighter salaries in the state, and the city declared bankruptcy.

  8. wdf

    “Don’t forget Vallejo.

    Now that is an ironic comparison. Among the highest firefighter salaries in the state, and the city declared bankruptcy.”

    The Vallejo situation is actually a major subtext for this discussion.

  9. supporting our police officers

    Our police officers put their lives on the line everyday while they carry a gun and protect our community. At any given time they may have to use that gun to either protect themselves or someone else. It is sad that pulling over someone for a traffic violation is now becoming as dangerous as disrupting a drug deal. So many police officers have lost their lives for simply pulling someone over recently. I may be the economy, but it seems like things are getting worse and not better.

    Fire fighters risk their lives too, but only 10% of the calls are fire related. So it seems that our police officers should definitly be paid more since their jobs are dangerous on a more frequent basis like EVERY DAY. Also, they do not get paid while they sleep. There is clearly a pay issue that needs to be resolved before it costs taxpayers more and more money.

  10. Two peas in a pod

    As I understand basic city government that is taught in schools through out the country and even in Davis, the structure goes something like this. The city council is at the top, the city manager reports to the city council, department heads report to the city manager. In each department there is a rank structure that clearly identifies who reports to who. The different commissions are put together to gather information and give input to the city council (who represents all of the citizens that elected them) so they can make good, logical, informed decisions on the recommendations that the city manager brings to the city council. The city manager brings all information forward based on input given to him by the individual department heads. A city manager cannot be an expert in all fields of city government, that is why he relies on the department heads to make those recommendations. This is the job of a department head, to be an expert in their field and this is why they get paid what they do. Speaking of pay, why does Davis have an assistant city manager that is still the finance director? I thought it was the job of the finance director to give input to the city manager on the state of the finances in the city. I’m still confused why the city council allowed a reorganization (renaming of the finance director position) that now cost the city more every year.

    So, keeping the above in mind, it is the job of the city council to vote on the recommendations of the city manager. They cast these votes as a servant and representative of the citizens of Davis for which they volunteered to do and spent a significant amount of money trying to win an election, in order to be that servant. If the city council does not feel the city manager is running the city well, then it their job to correct his actions. Just like if a department head is not running their department well, it is the job of the city manager to correct that. If an employee of a certain department is not performing well, it is up to the department head to correct their actions.

    Back to the city council, I don’t recall there ever being a shortage of citizens running for city council. Currently, if a city council member serves 5 years, they get life time medical paid for by the citizens. Most of our council people serve two terms. Let’s do the math…….

    5 years = Lifetime medical
    Medical Insurance is 12,000 per year right now and goes up every year
    Average age of a council member = 52
    Average life expectancy = 85
    $12000 X 5 = $60,000

    How many current and past city council member have lifetime medical? Let’s go conservative and say 10 although it must be more. That’s $600000 we could save every year by getting rid of that. I’m sure Sue would argue that she is well worth the little she gets in compensation for doing such a fine job of representing the citizens. How much is our youngest city council member going to make over his lifetime after serving just 5 years? Talk about a benefit unique to the city of davis!

    I can’t wait to get to the argument about firefighters vs. police. Don’t firefighters work a 56 hour work week? I think in a career, that equals out to 12 years worth of more work than a typical 40 hour work week. Perhaps that why they get paid more. What is the hourly rate of a firefighter or firefighter II? How does that compare to other city workers? David, could provide that to us?

    I’m running out of time so I’ll have to check in with you later to see if VFD suggested volunteer all the way again or if Sue got pissed about someone bringing up the lifetime medical for city council members. I’m sick of the micro managing, the isolation from other city’s and the fact that the people in charge of the city are changing how they do business because of a blog. You want to know why the police department is have a hard time recruiting and retaining police officers. They are underpaid and have to worry about what the blog is going to post next about the job they are doing. They have to worry about people following them around with a camera and questioning their every move. Common guys, you’re ruining the city of davis by your constant attacks on all the workers rather than going after those in charge……The Davis City Council.

  11. Business as usual must change

    Answers to questions:

    Question: Don’t firefighters work a 56 hour work week? I think in a career, that equals out to 12 years worth of more work than a typical 40 hour work week.

    Answer: Of the 56 hours per week how many hours are spent sleeping? Getting paid to sleep needs to be eliminated completely. This just makes no sense whatsoever.

    Question: VFD?

    Answer: Why not? We need to stop doing business as usual. Even if we had a 1/2 or 1/4 volunteer FD it would save the city A LOT of $$$.

    Question / Statement: I’m sick of the micro managing, the isolation from other city’s and the fact that the people in charge of the city are changing how they do business because of a blog.

    Answer: If the city did a more thorough analysis like the blog writer does then I think we would not be in such a mess. The council and upper management need to stop giving out favors with big pay and benefit hikes. It’s time that the taxpayers demand accountability and receive the truth instead of “unmet needs.”

    Question / Statement: You want to know why the police department is have a hard time recruiting and retaining police officers. They are underpaid and have to worry about what the blog is going to post next about the job they are doing. They have to worry about people following them around with a camera and questioning their every move. Common guys, you’re ruining the city of davis by your constant attacks on all the workers rather than going after those in charge……The Davis City Council.

    Answer: Now that we know that the DP department was run by an arrogant SOB instead of the good Chief we have now with Landy Black it is more understandable why DPD has had a hard time recruiting.

    I have a solution. Take some of the money from the firefighters and give it to the police department. They need it for recruitment and retention of good officers. As someone said in another post: officers get paid to protect and ff are being paid to fight fires 10% of the time and sleep? This does not make sense.

    It’s time for Business As Usual to change.

  12. YES!

    “the people in charge of the city are changing how they do business because of a blog”

    Thank God! I don’t believe that’s right, but if it is, it’s about freaking time!

  13. The Investigative Eye is broken

    When reporting a story Clark Kent and Lois Lane would check for facts , something the Eye doesn’t do very well .With all of the Eye’s public request for info , you would think his fact checking would be at least more accurate , after requesting all that info .

    Because what the EYE fails to understand and print on his blog is that police make a higher hourly rate than firefighters , the difference is in hours worked .

    Come on , David , lets stop hiding behind your blog bashing of city employees , and get out there and do something your mom would be proud of .

  14. Well

    If you are going to castigate Greenwald for that, you can castigate the entire city staff who failed to mention it. The problem with that argument as you well know, fire fighters work 56 hours a week, know full well that there is a good deal of downtime and even sleep time involved in every 56 hours on the clock so to speak. So I don’t think that’s a good counter-argument.

  15. Well part 2

    “lets stop hiding behind your blog bashing of city employees”

    This is particularly ironic since it doesn’t appear Greenwald hides behind anything–he prints his view under his full name unlike for instance you?

    It’s hard to sustain an argument that he is merely bashing city employees, when in fact, he appears to be comparing one group against another and asking the question as to why–the same question that arose and was not well answered at council last night.

  16. Bloggers , lets be positive

    “”””””Fire fighters risk their lives too, but only 10% of the calls are fire related. So it seems that our police officers should definitly be paid more since their jobs are dangerous on a more frequent basis like EVERY DAY. Also, they do not get paid while they sleep. There is clearly a pay issue that needs to be resolved before it costs taxpayers more and more money.””””””

    When someone speaks like this , they are not aware of what firefighters do for there community .

    For instance , freeway and in the city accidents . Anything from cars , big rigs , buses , motorcycles , bicycles ,and pedestrians. When have any of you been on the road, not in your vehicle, helping victims of an accident , with not much protection from other cars during the day or night , with drunk drivers or just not paying attention.

    Sickness do to exposure of blood , vomit , poop , airborne sickness do to coughing , sneezing , direct contact sickness skin to skin , mouth and eyes .

    Hazardous materials , who knows what you’ll find on trains ,big rigs , mail and UPS , take a look at your garage , your cleaning cupboard , imagine if those were on fire the fumes that would create to breath .

    Throw in fires and everything else they do , which I’ve only scratched the surface here, think about what you see them do on the news, ( 10 % ) is a very low assumption by a person not knowing of what they talk about .

    Lets be proud of our public safety !

  17. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]Answer: Of the 56 hours per week how many hours are spent sleeping? Getting paid to sleep needs to be eliminated completely. This just makes no sense whatsoever.[/quote]I don’t know if it makes sense or not. There may be excellent reasons to have 24-hour shifts. For example, by rotating crews only once a day, as opposed to twice or three times, you are much less likely to face a situation where a crew is called to a fire or other emergency just before it goes off duty, and thus has to be paid overtime for a number of hours thereafter, while the new crew sits at the station. I cannot imagine you would pull a crew off of a fire, and replace it with the new one, just because the shift ended for the first group.

    Nevertheless, it is (as you imply) misleading (and really dishonest) to suggest that firefighters work more hours than others in city government. The truth is that they do sleep (normally) about 8 hours each 24-hour shift. They are scheduled for 10 days out of every month. That would be 120 days a year. However, they get double time for 12 holidays; and veterans get about 20 days of paid vacation each year. On top of that, our entire force gets 1,104 hours of paid “union bank” hours, not to serve the city of Davis, but to serve the needs of their fireman’s union. Further, they get 12 days of paid sick leave a year, even if they are not sick.

    I’m not sure there is an informed answer to this question for Davis, but I wonder if being a firefighter here is as dangerous as being a cop? In some places, with lots of old, big buildings, I bet it is. Fighting any fire can be very dangerous. However, I wonder if your average cop in Davis, who has to deal with drunks and domestic violence and so on all the time, is not subject to more danger? I don’t know.

  18. Greg Kuperberg

    I certainly agree that hiding behind anonymity has come to be a problem in this important blog. Yes, we should have open comments, in the sense that anyone can post. Yes, anonymity is an important option. But the current format is basically anonymous by default. We shouldn’t be anonymous just for the sake of being anonymous.

    David is raising a number of important issues. I don’t always agree with him either, but this blog is a great innovation in local journalism. It just makes it so clear that many things aren’t being explained in the Enterprise. If the blog starts to make a difference in city planning, then that will mean new responsibilities. It will mean more reason to act like grown-ups in the comments. In particular, that you should give your name, or at least be willing to give your name if it matters, unless you have a good reason to be anonymous.

    I also still think that the anonymous comment “Who is up for a bonfire” in the other thread was a low point. If a comment like that can be dismissed as pent-up frustration, then that just makes Davis homeowners look bad.

  19. Mike Harrington

    I have always thought that Davis police officers are underpaid for their high level of responsibilities, and that we have too few of them. I live and work 24/7 in the core of the downtown, and we simply do not have enough, especially given the increased transient population due to the economic decline and certain local charitable institutions that are insisting on bring in more and more non-clean, non-sober clients into the downtown.

    I wish we had more bike patrol officers. The few we have are highly effective and worth every dime of salary and benefits.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]we simply do not have enough (police), given the increased transient population due to the economic decline[/quote]I don’t doubt many people (on a national basis) have become homeless recently due to the economy (as opposed to because of substance abuse, mental illness, family crises, etc.). However, those homeless (if we have any in Davis due to that cause) are, I would guess, not criminals, not drug abusers and not consuming police time. They might be using the services of the charities (until their economic outlook improves). But I don’t suspect they are otherwise a burden on the criminal justice system.

  21. switch hater

    Amazing…. DPD started out his “blog” as a watchdog about Davis P.D., and now it’s like he’s in bed with them. Who knows? Maybe he too will switch side(s) again when his wife gets the endorsement she wants and who would DPD be bashing on next? Let’s go after teachers… oh, wait, that’s Rifkin’s job. If “they” the public safety folks make such a great living, then maybe you ought to try the job before you speak ill of others. One more thing, the off shift folks make up 17% of the workforce, e.g. doctors, nurses, police, fire…etc. They are compensated differently for their time because few can competently work the hours. While you sleep soundly in the comfort of your own bed, the off shift professionals are expected to go from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds. And if, by chance, they don’t have emergencies in the middle of the night, they are still expected to respond. In addition, you can never compare the “down time” to the comfort of your own bed.

  22. Actually

    This has always been a blog about keeping an eye on what local government is doing. Why did the police drop off his radar so to speak? They got a new Chief, got an Ombudsman, and changed the way they did business.

    What this proves is that this blog and DPD is not ideological in its criticism, it simply criticizes those entities within local government that are out of control.

    Let’s make no mistake here, the Davis Fire Department is out of control. The Grand Jury report castigated them. Aaronson’s report CONFIRMED the Grand Jury findings. When that occurred, the Bobbie Wiest and Rose Conroy pitched a fit to city staff until Emlen backed down like the coward that he is and buried the report.

    The fire department is paid outrageous wages and compensation. It has used its political influence in City Hall with its iron-clad political contribution policy to continue to get away with unfeasible arrangements.

    But things are changing. The report by Citygate if the DFD allows it to come forward will be a huge blow. The pressure mounting on the department will grow and grow. It will hand new fodder to this blog and Rich Rifkin, Sue Greenwald, and a growing chorus of critics of the abuses of the fire department.

    So yes, go ahead and defend your unfeasible policies, but tell me, how many structures did the DFD enter in the past year? More than three? How much are we paying for the two in-two out to be totally consumed in the fire department in a single station? Can Davis be reasonably safe with firefighters getting what the police get and not having four people to sit around the fire station most of the day?

    I believe Citygate will answer that it can and then you will really have the fight on your hands. Of course, you might be able to cow City Hall before it comes out, but you are finally running out of time.

  23. Wesley Capon

    Appox. 10-20% of calls to any fire dept are for actual fires. The remaining 80-90% are medical calls. Very very few of these are for serious car accidents. The typical medical call is for an elderly person at home who fell, someone who is having chest pain, or something similar. The fire crew essentially administers first aid in these cases and transports the person to the ER. That is why if you want to get hired as as a fireman, become a paramedic first.
    Requirements to become a police officer are far greater. The demands of the job are greater, and the dangers on the job are exponentially greater.

    For any of our civil servants the cost of their salary pales in comparison to the cost of the benefits.

  24. Mike Harrington

    By Rich: I don’t doubt many people (on a national basis) have become homeless recently due to the economy (as opposed to because of substance abuse, mental illness, family crises, etc.). However, those homeless (if we have any in Davis due to that cause) are, I would guess, not criminals, not drug abusers and not consuming police time. They might be using the services of the charities (until their economic outlook improves). But I don’t suspect they are otherwise a burden on the criminal justice system.

    Rich, check the police blotter reports. Substantially up. Especially around the 5th and C/D area. And talk with bike officer Neeves when you see him around.

  25. martin

    I support the bike patrol officers too, if they don’t give me a ticket for out-of-control bicycling. I got places to go!

    Is there a possibility of paying fire and police the same? I imagine that they are in separate unions, but they are public safety people and I support funds for them. I don’t like to see playing them off against each other but now we need more police officers, so why can’t some of the surplus firemen be assigned to work with the police? Sure they would need to go through the police academy, but then they would be a part of the community and wouldn’t worry about losing their jobs? Just new duties

  26. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]why can’t some of the surplus firemen be assigned to work with the police?[/i]

    Because we don’t want people to draw guns on fires and douse crime scenes with water.

  27. David M. Greenwald

    One of the interesting things I have learned is that there are communities in California that do not have separate police and fire departments. Instead they have a public safety department and rotate their personnel.

  28. Rich Rifkin

    Hater: [quote]Let’s go after teachers… oh, wait, that’s Rifkin’s job. [/quote]I have always stood up for higher pay and better conditions for good teachers. I challenge you to quote anything I’ve ever said or written which suggests I don’t value good teachers. If your charge is simply that I don’t agree with the politics of the DTA or the CTA, then I plead guilty. If you think that makes me “anti-teacher,” so be it.

  29. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]Rich, check the police blotter reports. Substantially up. Especially around the 5th and C/D area. And talk with bike officer Neeves when you see him around.[/quote]I regularly attend meetings at night at the Hattie Webber (5th and C) and thus know exactly what you are talking about, Mike. However, my perception — which could be wrong — is that the homeless problem around there is connected to drug and alcohol problems, not merely people displaced by the down economy. Insofar as crime is “substantially up,” maybe that is because our social services have attracted more of this type of homeless person?

  30. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]One of the interesting things I have learned is that there are communities in California that do not have separate police and fire departments. Instead they have a public safety department and rotate their personnel.[/quote]That is how it is done in Marina, CA (near Monterey). I think, though, that is only done in rather small communities. Once you reach a certain scale, it makes sense to have separate forces, so you don’t have to pay for twice as much training per person.

  31. Sara Lee

    some one said something about saving our police men, and they put their lives on the line every day. you must be smoking crank lady. they respond to phone calls from citizens who are being bothered by loud parties from students, they pull people over for drunk driving, they deal with some bad criminals for the most part, but if you ask them if any of them would like to work in south central la…they would say NO. It’s gravy in davis california baby. i’ve heard many of them complain about davis and how petty it is. you don’t really know how much most officers hate davis. most of them don’t even live here. they are making loads of money and they don’t deserve it, neither do the firefighters. and i don’t want to hear the justification that we have to pay more money for better cops. if this was la, then yes i would agree with you, but davis? brother please. these officers are less than top notch. they are here cause being a cop in davis is easy, and being a firefighter is easy over here. why? becuase there are no fires and not much crime. if you take the engine down to a 3 person engine, and make these guys take a 10% pay cut, teachers union included, then we would be able to balance the budget, but unfortunately, we are filled with a bunch of greedy uncompromising unions that don’t give a fuxxx about anything except their pay check. they would rather single parents on welfare lose their grants and not be able to get child care if they got a job. they would rather see more homelss poeple and desperation. oh well, job security for them huh? fux the police and fux the fire fighters and fux the teachers for failing to teach the children. davis california sux ass, it’s expensive and not worth the surcharge. actually california sux ass all together.

  32. Sara Lee

    June 20, 2005 10% Salary Increase
    June 19, 2006 8% Salary Increase
    June 18, 2007 8% Salary Increase
    June 30, 2008 6% Salary Increase

    Police MOU:

    2006-07: 6%
    2007-08: 3%
    2008-09: 4%
    2009-10: 3%
    It’s disgusting to me that there is a salary hike in these hard times. there should be a moratorium for the next two years at least for all city employees., teachers, firefighters, cops, and anyone else working in the unions just reeming the city of davis for as much as they can. greedy selfish hypocrits.
    why can’t this be run like a business. if you don’t have the money to pay your empoloyees, you get fired@!!!!! state employees are expected to work 4 days a week now with the same workload, section 8 company has to do the same thing and now governors’ talking agout cutting welfare homeless programs and still while all this is happening, you governemnt unions continue to get your raises and bloated salaries and have coctail parties about the how bad teh poor are and how they should just all be sent off to gas chanbers. well mr. cop, if there was no suffering, you’d have no job, so maybe it’s good the calworks get cut in this state. even after a sales tax hike which the poor get effected negatively, they still want to make sure that there are more homeless pople in the world. that way you can take em to prison and god knows the prison system is already big enough. no poverty, no cops, no poverty no prisons. looks like you fascists need job security and will stop at nothing to get it.

  33. good grief

    I will bet that the vast majority of you have NEVER actually talked with a firefighter in Davis about what they actually do. I honestly think that if you took some time out of your lives for a visit or a ride along with any of the city or UCD fire stations you would at least rid yourselves of the impression that all firefighters do is sleep in the recliner and wait for the bell.

    Stop by a station, do a ride along (ask any FF how to sign up), and educate yourselves before you go running your mouths.

  34. David M. Greenwald

    One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the comments have been made in the context of reading six months to a year worth of reports and studies about the fire department on this site.

  35. Anonymous

    Maybe combining the police and fire departments into a single department wouldn’t be such a bad idea; they exist in cities small and large across Northern California.

    City of Ceres (population 43,000)
    The Ceres Department of Public Safety provides public safety services in the form of police and fire protection for the citizens living in and visiting the City of Ceres. The Public Safety Department concept was implemented in 1988, as a measure of efficiency and cost containment. In effect, the fire and police functions operate in a traditional fashion, but rather than have two separate chiefs, there is only one providing for the leadership, policy-setting and overall management of the two “divisions.”

    City of Rohnert Park (population 41,000)
    Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety was implemented upon the creation of the City. The Department has always been comprised of an integrated police and fire services agency that provides full service police and fire protection through the cross training and skill development of a staff of Public Safety Officers and employees.

    City of Sunnyvale (population 138,000)
    The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety is uniquely designed to incorporate and cross-train all officers to become fully trained Fire Fighters, Emergency Medical Technicians and Peace Officers. In doing so, the city has created an approach to Fire, Emergency Medical Service and Law Enforcement that provides fast, efficient and skilled response to all emergency needs.

  36. Thats dumb reasoning

    First, it’s not clear how many times a year FFs have to do this, but less than ten percent of all calls are for fires and only a very tiny percentage of those involve building entry.

    OTOH, police officers have to pull over people all the time alone with the nearest back up no closer than three minutes away. You literally do not know who you are pulling over, what they have done, and how dangerous the individual may be.

    In 2008 nationwide 114 FF’s died–link ([url]http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/08-fatality-summary.pdf[/url])–(only 31 of those killed in a structure fire–i.e. running into a burning building). This number is around the average for 1998 to 2008–link ([url]http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/statistics/casualties.shtm[/url])

    For police in 2008–41 were killed feloniously and another 67 died while performing their duties. In 2007 that number was 58 and 83 respectively for a total of 141.

  37. Cory Chalmers

    So out of the 114 firefighters that died on duty in 2008, only 31 should be considered because they were at a fire? The car accidents, heart attacks (due to strenuous work), and other reasons don’t count? You really want to stand behind that comment? 114 died while serving their communites, who cares why!

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