GR, Kentwood, Wyoming to Consider Merging Emergency Services

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generic police lightsKENT COUNTY, Mich. — A joint city council meeting is scheduled in Wyoming Thursday, July 18 to discuss combining the fire, police and EMS services for Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming.

A new 86-page report from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) claims combining those services would save the three cities a combined $17.2 million per year.  It would also reduce the number of sworn officers in the police force by 59 and reduce the number of fire stations by 5, from 21 to 16.

Under this proposed consolidation, there would be 648 total fire and police personnel in the three cities, 392 police and 256 fire.  It also calls for an Office of Professional Standards to evaluate performance.

“In all three agencies the response to calls and high-priority calls takes longer than expected,” the ICMA report said.

No reduction in fire department staff was recommended, but the report does suggestion staffing based on call volume and not replacing officers that retire or leave for other reasons.  ICMA also recommends “demand-based” services and places almost 70 percent of the 256 officers in Grand Rapids.  It also suggests that the administration for both services be located there as well.

The special session between all three city commissions begins at 7 p.m. in the Wyoming City Council Chambers, 1155 28th Street SW.  Public comment on this issue will remain open on this issue until Nov. 30, and exploration committees are expected to be formed to further research combining the police and fire departments.

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