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Politics & Government

Jackson voters want to keep separate police and fire departments

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Jackson voters decided not merge their city police and fire departments.  The proposal to create a single public safety department lost by a wide margin.

Jackson Mayor Karen Dunigan is disappointed with the result. She says the city can’t afford to operate two separate staffs.

"You know I have 40,000 police calls and I have 4,000 fire calls," Dunigan said, "and of those 4,000 fire calls, probably 80% are like garage fires and medical emergencies. I have more firemen sleeping at night than I have cops on the road."

Tom Loveberry is with the city firefighters union.  He says police officers are not adequately experienced to be firefighters.

Jackson laid off seven police officers on Monday.  Mayor Dunigan says there will now be layoffs in the fire department.