Friday, May 10, 2013

Sun Valley to cross-train 1st responders

Police, firefighters to share more duties


By BRENNAN REGO
Express Staff Writer

    Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe advised the City Council last week that the city will soon begin a cross-training program between the Fire and Police departments that will limit police overtime, provide more income to paid, on-call firefighters, and increase the medical training of police officers.
    “We hope that in a year, all police officers will be trained as EMTs,” Briscoe said at the May 2 meeting, which he said is important because police usually arrive at the scene first when an incident occurs.
    Briscoe also said the paid, on-call firefighters will take on some of the Police Department’s current duties, including helping to direct traffic at busy events. He said the paid firefighters “welcome” the additional income and the city will save money because it will not have to pay the police as much overtime. He did not say how much the additional training will cost the city, but did say he would soon propose a budget amendment to the council to fund it.
    Briscoe said that Interim Police Chief Walt Femling and Interim Fire Chief Ray Franco are “enthusiastic” about the cross-training.
    “I didn’t want to run into a turf war with the departments,” he said. “But they responded enthusiastically.”
    Briscoe said he’s been developing the idea for about a year and that it is important to implement, especially following the discovery last week of five shrapnel-containing, improvised explosive devices in Elkhorn Village.
    “After the events we just had, I think it’s a valuable addition to health, safety and welfare for our community,” Briscoe said.
    In an interview after the meeting, Briscoe said the city will commence the training as soon as possible after the council approves the money.
    “We will also be looking at other shared responsibilities that the two departments can get together and participate in,” Femling said in a separate interview after the meeting. “Hopefully, we will have a report by the [June 6] council meeting to share with everyone.”


Brennan Rego: brego@mtexpress.com




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