The is the second of the five Pointes to enter into an interlocal agreement that establishes a fire committee to oversee and implement recommendations related to fire services.
Council voted unanimously Monday to enter into the agreement that is currently being presented to each of the Pointes' city councils. council unanimously voted to enter into the agreement last week.
The agreement is the first step to implementing some of .
Ray Riggs, a SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Committee of Govenrments) expert and retired West Bloomfield Assistant Fire Chief, studied fire service in all of the Pointes for several months for the ad hoc committee. He wrapped up his study and presented his recommendations and findings to the group in November.
The agreement approved Monday is the result of his recommendations and will allow for another administrative body to be created to oversee and manage the changes. Riggs did not study the consolidation of the departments but rather the ways in which each of the departments could be more efficient with equipment purchasing, delivery of services and more.
Riggs had many recommendations but the main three are:
- to establish automatic aid agreements for majors fires or crashes
- to have unified, joint training of all the public safety officers in the Pointes with regular cross-jurisdictional drills and the establishment of standard operating procedures
- to have all of the Pointes make equipment purchases as one unit
Riggs had several more ideas but those beyond his main recommendations were not agreed upon in the ad hoc committee, City of Grosse Pointe city manager Pete Dame said.
Dame described the three recommendations as logical and something that should have been done long ago. Each recommendation will help each of the municipalities individually as well improve services to residents, he said.
The decision by council Monday and by Grosse Pointe Woods council last week allows the ad hoc committee and municipal employees to begin the process of finding appropriate people to serve on the fire services committee. Once the committee is established, the drafting of an automatic aid agreement will begin as well as an assessment of equipment owned and used by each of the five departments, Dame said.
The first recommendation, implementing automatic aid, essentially means faster response to major fires, crashes or other problems. Currently, under the mutual aid agreement among the five Pointes and Harper Woods, each of the departments responds to its own fire service calls first. If the situation warrants additional trucks or manpower, then the first responders call for others to assist. The automatic aid agreement would be suplemental to the mutual aid agreement, Dame said.
Determining what automatic aid would mean for police patrols throughout the five Pointes is difficult to do without an actual agreement, Dame said, explaining those details will be outlined in whatever eventual agreement is reached. In the Pointes, all of the officers are cross-trained as police officers and firefighters, meaning those on police patrols can shift their efforts to fighting a fire as needed.
Riggs' last main recommendation is to purchase equipment together rather than separately could have two effects. First, it will likely allow the municipalities to get a lower price because there would be larger purchase orders. Secondly, it feeds into Riggs' recommendation about having joint training by allowing all of the Pointes public safety officers to use the same equipment.
If all officers in the Pointe use the same equipment that could help if they need to "borrow" equipment from another department during a fire, because all the officers would know how to operate it without hesitation, he said.
As for the joint-training among the departments, Dame said, since the departments already all work together at major fires, it only seems logical that the officers should all train together.
The interlocal agreement is coming before each of the five Grosse Pointe councils for their approval. council put their decision on hold Monday night so Park City Manager Dale Krajniak could bring back additional information.
Next week, the agreement will go before council and scheduled their for their January meeting.
The City's council asked a few clarification questions about the agreement and overall seemed supportive of the idea before voting unanimously. In the Woods last week, council members also seemed optimistic about the changes but at least one member said he wants to ensure any changes made by a new committee are presented to council before being implemented.
Dame said the first step is establishing the fire committee, which will be comprised of the city managers of each of the Pointes, or their designee. He told council Monday the public safety directors and officers would have input, especially when it involves the purchase of equipment.
This is the second major undertaking of the Grosse Pointe Public Safety Ad Hoc Committee. The first was the , which found that an all Pointes dispatch center and lockup is ideal and the ultimate goal but not financially feasible for any of the municipalities now. Smaller consolidations within the Pointes were recommended with the long-term goal of still eventually establishing one center. The is the first of the Pointes to make such a change.
between the City and one of the other Pointes as offers from the Woods, the Farms and the Park are still being reviewed and considered by Dame.
Kim North Shine contributed to this article.