From cross trained cops/firefighters to an update of the city’s health and safety program, the Woodbury City Council on Wednesday is set to examine a number of initiatives within the Public Safety Department.
The council workshop will also include a discussion of the city’s Fire Relief Association and a five-year review of fire and EMS operations.
The city is looking at continuing a program that cross trains police as firefighters, and staff recommends adding another four of those officers in 2013.
Woodbury began the program in 2005, but it was halted in 2009 because of budget constraints. It costs $2,850 to cross train and equip a police officer as a firefighter, according to a council memo on the matter.
Such officers improve response times to fires, Public Safety Chief Lee Vague has told Patch, as police are often first on the scene when a fire breaks out. Woodbury currently has nine cross-trained officers, and to staff the program 24 hours a day, it will need a total of 16.
The council reviews its fire/EMS departments every five years, and part of Wednesday’s discussion will center on sharing services with contiguous Cottage Grove.
Public safety accounts for 39 percent of general fund spending, and the hope is that sharing services could create cost efficiencies, according to a council memo.
Fire Relief Association
As part of an informational discussion, the city council will hear about retirement benefits available to paid-on-call firefighters, the budget question of increasing the annual pension amount, and options under evaluation by the Woodbury Fire Benefits Association regarding management of pension and retiree plan options.
Health and Safety Program
The council is also set to discuss workplace safety during the meeting. As part of the 2013 budget proposal, the health and safety budget will be transferred from Administration to Public Safety.