RESULTS – NOVEMBER 10 CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP
During the November 10 North Myrtle Beach City Council workshop, City Manager Mike Mahaney provided details as to why the City is moving away from cross-training its Police Officers to the level of Firefighter 1 and its Firefighters to the level of Class Three Police Officers.
The City’s reliance on cross-trained personnel to respond to Police and Fire incidents has decreased considerably since the 1990s. For example, to date in 2021, cross-trained Police Officers were needed to respond to only 3 out of 3,570 fire incidents, and cross-trained Firefighters were needed to respond to 6 out of 19,211 Police incidents.
On average, about $100,000 annually is spent on uniforms and equipment for newly hired employees to be outfitted for their cross-training roles. That figure does not include replacement equipment costs. Depending on the type of equipment, the majority of issued equipment must be replaced after 5-10 years of service.
Additionally, each year an average of $500,000 is spent on overtime pay so that cross-trained personnel can receive the required refresher training to maintain their dual-role certifications.
There are no costs associated with ending the cross-training of personnel, only savings. How those savings can be used within the Public Safety Department will be discussed at City Council’s FY 2023 Budget Retreat, which is held in the spring.
The Police Department and Fire Department will remain under the banner of the Public Safety Department. Both departments work well together in that environment.
All City Council members in attendance expressed support for the move away from cross-training.
Newly elected City Councilman Bubba Collins attended the workshop and, when asked by Mayor Marilyn Hatley what he thought of the move away from cross-training, he stated that he is in favor of it.
No further action is required.