Police and fire to be merged in Bay City - WNEM TV 5

Police and fire to be merged in Bay City

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Bay City firefighters at work Bay City firefighters at work

Bay City city commissioners voted Monday night 6-3 in favor of merging police and fire services within the city.

The new Public Safety Department was voted in favor of as city leaders look to slash the expected $2 million budget deficit.

"It's not easy, and it's tough to make that decision, but we have to think of the community as a whole," said Bay City police Chief Michael Cecchini.

The plan calls for police officers and firefighters to be cross-trained to do law enforcement and fire protection work.  Under the plan, 14 or 15 firefighters are expected to lose their jobs. The commission heard people sound off before they made their decision final.

"Let the taxpayer choose. What happened to that?" asked resident Richard Spencer.

Commissioners told the people packed into the Pere Marquette building that the city's budget is on life support. The city's dealing with a tough deficit, and Commissioner Chad Sibley said city accounts will be drained quickly with no action.

"We don't have any money, and in three years we're going to be bankrupt, we won't have nothing," Sibley said.

And that's why commissioners said this tough decision had to be made. By July of next year, the first wave of police officers will have cross-training to fight fires. In fact, some officers will leave on Tuesday for firefighter training.

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