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  • Fire Chief is New Police Commissioner

    The mayor of York, PA has in his unfailing wisdom, named the Fire Chief as acting Police Commissioner due to the retirement of the current Commissioner.
    Anyone else think that this is absolutely ridiculous?

  • #2
    Doesn't sound real good... am I hearing it right though, is he now the Fire Chief and Police Commisioner or just Police Commisioner?

    Comment


    • #3
      Currently, this guy is both Fire Chief and Police Commissioner...with NO police training whatsoever.

      Comment


      • #4
        How on earth can a police force operate under a Chief Executive with no policing skills.
        At least over here you know that even bad bosses have had to go up through the ranks from street copper to Chief.

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        • #5
          The original post is very incomplete. The chief and two other high-ranking officers (two of the three are early retirements) have or soon will retire. The fire chief is in charge only temporarily: "I'm a firefighter. I’m fortunate enough to be the fire chief of a very good city, this is a interim stop gap measure and we'll do the best we can."

          The mayor says: "The day to day decisions will be made by the command staff, the captains, lieutenants and corporals and so forth of the police department. The logistical decisions and overall management guidelines, management guidance will be provided by (Fire)Chief Senft."

          It's temporary only. Hardly news to gnash teeth over...unless the city takes forever to name a new police chief. The search is underway.

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          • #6
            Pardon me, Dave...
            But, even with the "management staff" making some decisions, I think that this is a frightening idea. This mayor just finished trying to cut the police department by several officers and now does this?
            I think it's a bad idea even for 24 hrs.

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            • #7
              Why did he want to cut officers?

              Did it have anything to do with the fire and police unions agreeing to forestall pay raises for six months to help out with a financial crisis in the city?

              Sounds to me like the unions and the city are doing what they can to deal with tough times. Same with the interim appointment of the fire chief to lead the PD. And if you don't name him, who do you name to fill in until someone is chosen?

              I see nothing in local news from York that indicates that the rank and file are upset with the mayor's decision. It's not the ideal situation, but it should be fine as long as it "temporary" doesn't go on forever.

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              • #8
                Let's put it this way: Would the firefighters like it if a cop were put in charge of their department?

                And what's wrong with making one of the captains an acting Chief? That is what has been done at my department before, and certainly makes a lot more sense than making a fireman in charge of the cops...

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                • #9
                  "I see nothing in local news from York that indicates that the rank and file are upset with the mayor's decision. It's not the ideal situation, but it should be fine as long as it "temporary" doesn't go on forever."

                  Yeah, okay Dave...it's not in the paper so it CAN'T be true...c'mon!
                  The unions had NO choice with the knife this guy was wielding. There are plenty of very good POLICE OFFICERS that are currently in command positions and able to take over the department for a temporary stop-gap. I think that having a fireman in charge of cops is a bad idea, period.

                  [ 01-02-2003, 07:29 PM: Message edited by: Traffic_Goddess ]

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                  • #10
                    If they knew it was temporary, probably not.

                    Two captains already have left the York department. It's possible that those that remain will be candidates for chief and the mayor doesn't want anyone to have unfair advantage.

                    It also may be that none of the ranking officers left on the fairly small department has the experience for the job, even temporarily.

                    I'm simply saying I don't believe this is the dire, totally unacceptable, my-god-how-could-you-do-this situation that the initial post seemed to be saying.

                    And what about those cities that have a person who heads up Public Safety? Chances are that he or she is not a person with police AND fire experience; in fact, it's possible -- maybe probable -- that some in those positions have neither background.

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                    • #11
                      Traffic Goddess...we can agree to disagree.

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                      • #12
                        Dave-
                        Things are much different in CA then they are in PA. The "small" department that you speak of is actually one of the larger ones in PA. And, firemen aren't quite as professional. When I watched the news on this and saw the total lack of professionalism of this guy in his news interview, it only strengthened my conviction that this is one of the worst ideas I've seen in local government for a while. I'm pretty close to some of the officers on the department, I went to college with quite a few of them, and believe me...the rank and file is reeling from this one!

                        You are right...we can agree to disagree!

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                        • #13
                          "There are plenty of very good POLICE OFFICERS that are currently in command positions and able to take over the department for a temporary stop-gap."

                          My point exactly.

                          "I think that having a fireman in charge of cops is a bad idea, period."

                          It also sets the tone for poor morale in the agency. It basically sends the message "Your command staff isn't good enough, so we're sending a bucket-boy to be in charge."

                          If there wasn't friction between the PD and FD guys before, there will be now. Especially if the FD chief now has to take any sort of disciplinary action against a cop, deserved or not.

                          "Two captains already have left the York department. It's possible that those that remain will be candidates for chief and the mayor doesn't want anyone to have unfair advantage."

                          This is a department with 116 sworn (according to their website). While not a San Diego PD, we're not talking Mayberry either. I'm sure somewhere in the remaining 113 there's a Captain, or a Lieutenant, who's capable of the job.

                          I don't buy the "unfair advantage" line either. At my department, when there needed to be an acting Chief, Captains who were both potential candidates, and those who weren't, have been chosen. There's also a good chance that at a department of York's size, the future Chief may come from the outside.

                          And has anybody thought of rotating the duties among the remaining Captains, to prevent said "unfair advantage?"

                          "And what about those cities that have a person who heads up Public Safety? Chances are that he or she is not a person with police AND fire experience; in fact, it's possible -- maybe probable -- that some in those positions have neither background."

                          We're not talking about "those cities." We're talking about York PA, where up until now a cop was in charge of the cops, and a fireman was in charge of the firefighters.

                          And in "those cities" at least both the PD and FD are headed by someone without the background of their respective agencies. That's much better than one being in charge of the other.

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                          • #14
                            "Your command staff isn't good enough, so we're sending a bucket-boy to be in charge."

                            LMFAO!!!!!!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Let's not forget that there are communities across the country that do the same thing every year...it's called an elected Sheriff. Not every elected sheriff is homegrown with years of police experience. Most state have a requirement that the sheriff receive his POST (or equiv) certification within X years.
                              No, I don't think appointing the fire chief is a good idea, but I would hope the City of York has good deputy chiefs and division commanders to keep the PD running smoothly in the interim.
                              "A man's got to know his limitations" --Inspector Harry Callahan in Magnum Force

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