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Bay City's police and fire departments will merge

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In Bay City, police officers are being trained to fight fires.

That’s after the city’s commission voted to merge the police and fire departments into one Public Safety Department on Monday.

The move means police officers will fight fires in addition to their normal duties.

Fourteen of the city’s 44 full-time firefighters will be laid off.  Chad Sibley of the Bay City Commissioner voted for the consolidation. He says it will help save the city from bankruptcy.

"We're doing what we have to do to create a budget what will actually create a better future for Bay City, and there are not going to be easy decisions that have to be made," he said.

Commissioner Jim Irving voted against the merger. He says he's skeptical it will protect his constituents.

“It’s not only the safety for the citizens of Bay City, but you’ve got to look for the safety of the Fire Department," he said. "If they’re understaffed, it could get pretty hazardous for them too.”

Bay City is the latest in a string of Michigan cities that have combined their Fire and Police Departments to save money.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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