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TACOMA: Cuts set city back 20 years

Letter by Cynthia E. Darland, Tacoma on Dec. 8, 2011 at 11:48 am with 8 Comments »
December 8, 2011 12:57 pm

My late husband was one of the primary architects of Community Oriented Policing in Tacoma. He gave hundreds of personal hours away from his family in the evenings to attend community meetings, selling and implementing this plan.

As community liaison, school resource, gang unit, traffic, vice and narcotics officers are returned to primary response duties, substations closed, and relationships with the FBI and DEA joint task forces obliterated, I am more than dismayed that a lack of foresight on the part of City managers will result in the demise of proactive policing, which has had a proven benefit for nearly 20 years.

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Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. sandblower says:

    I understand you concerns, but let me ask first, how did you vote on the bottle tax and beginning a tax on the wealthy?

  2. HistoryFan says:

    Sandblower. Please give a dollar figure when you say “Wealthy”.

  3. harleyrider1 says:

    Not really, Cindy. We had the Team concept shortly after he joined TPD. The Team concept was a different name, similar program. Years before that, they had other programs.

    The wheel is always re-invented and often people like to take credit.

    It’s time to get back to basics and away from the “feel good” programs when people are running short of money.

    TPD has too many people out of uniform and not enough on the street. Patrol officers themselves have said that, many times.

    Fire needs to get out of the medical competition. 2/3 of their calls are for medical. They need to return to the basics of responding and preventing fires.

    Taxpayers would see a huge reduction in multi-million dollar safety budgets for these two departments if we returned to their premise. “Feel-good” and “special programs” has only led to spend, spend, spend.

  4. alindasue says:

    harleyrider1 said, “Fire needs to get out of the medical competition. 2/3 of their calls are for medical. They need to return to the basics of responding and preventing fires.”

    Who are the competing with? If the fire department didn’t respond to the aid calls, who would take over the job to responding to medical emergencies and accidents quickly quickly enough to save lives?

    Currently, there is no one in “medical competition” with the fire department. The hospitals, ambulance companies, etc all depend on the fire department’s ability to be the “first responders” in a medical emergency. To create another agency that would take over that job would lead to even more building and administrative expenses.

  5. tree_guy says:

    Ironically Cynthia, it is the high labor costs demanded by represented employees such as the Police union which has led to the budget deficit the city faces and which must now be addressed by cutbacks. High pay, high benefits, step increases, lavish overtime and pensions are a recipe for civic disaster, as we are now witnessing.

  6. alindasue says:

    tree_guy,

    You keep talking about money “wasted” on pensions. Tell me, please, do you have a pension or retirement plan through your work or do you just accept that you’ll have to work full time until the day that you die?

    It used to be that a pension was considered a normal part of a career benefit. Now, to people like you, it’s nothing more than a “waste”. How very sad.

  7. harleyrider1 says:

    alindasue, you must be fairly new to Tacoma, and perhaps never lived in a metropolis before? I say that with respect, not a dig.

    Up until 1975, Tacoma had only private medical ambulance companies, many who had newly certified EMT’s. They competed by contract with City, re-bidding annually to charge x-amount of dollars for services.

    When someone needed an ambulance at that point in time, fire dispatched (called them) and they came. It worked well. Ambulance companies were required to have a minimum response time and met this by placing their ambulances at locations throughout the City.

    Both police and fire unions discussed having “their own” and police stated they just wanted to be policemen. Fire asked for TPD union support and a plan was designed and proposed to the Council. The fire Union said they would be able to hire more guys and add step-pay for every fireman that got his certification. At first, it was just to have their own EMT’s on Engines; then they purchased “aid” trucks; and so on. A couple years ago, ambulance owners complained that Tacoma Fire was putting them out of business using taxpayer dollars. There was an argument that Fire should not be allowed to charge $180 dollars for transport if taxpayers had already paid for the equipment, the training, the employee – and the ongoing salary.

    Finally, it has come to this: More than 2/3 of the calls coming in to a Fire Department are for ambulance service. We pay a huge sum for annual medical training and we are paying over $100,000.00 per EMT firefighter. Per firefighter. Think about that. Per fire-fighter.

    Not only could we have physicians for that kind of money, taxpayers must ask themselves, absent of the emotion factor, is paying our Fire-fighters one of the highest West Coast salaries for this, the correct thing to do?

    This is why I said, Tacoma needs to return to the basics for its Police AND its Fire Department.

  8. redneckbuck says:

    According to Obama 250k is wealthy.

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