Now I don’t mean that they didn’t have some good cops, and we made some damn good arrest and got into lots of wild pursuit and cool shit. But, the one thing that didn’t work was a concept called “Public Safety.”
We were also supposed to be firemen (now called fire fighters.) The problem was, most of us didn’t know the first thing about how to fight fires, other than “put the wet stuff on the hot stuff.”
In an effort to try to train us, we had fire drill training every Tuesday for four hours. There was no long term plan as to what we got trained in, so often the most senior officer to show up was put in charge of training. Sometimes they actually knew something about fire fighting, sometimes we just sat around and ate donuts.
How was the response to actual fires? Well, the “fire department” was not staffed. We each had a Plectron radio thingy in our homes that would go off when they needed us to come in. We had to live within 2 miles of one of the fire stations. That sucked--- who wanted to live in a city with such a bad fire department?
The problem with the call out was we never knew who would show up and we hoped somebody showed up that actually knew what to do. I remember many times I was just falling asleep and I’d hear a “beep…beep…beep…beep. KLS-9--- report of a structure fire at 123 Alice street, station 1 and 2 respond. Beep…beep…beep…beep… report of a structure fire at 123 Alice street, station 1 and 2 respond…KSL 9--- out”I’d jump up and put on my clothes…it didn’t matter what we wore to the station because once we got there we were putting on our turn outs…so in the summer I usually had shorts on…and my 1911 45. Funny seeing firemen with guns. I figured if I couldn’t get it out with water, I would shoot down the flames.
One night I had just ended my police patrol shift and was in the report room (which was also the briefing room, the lunch room, the training room and the staff lounge) getting an arrest report done….when the watch commander comes running back and yells at me and the other guys writing reports: “Can any of you drive a fire truck?”
I told him” I drove big ass trucks in the Army, I think I can.”
Then I became the fire engineer. I should have figured the 1,000 gallons of water in the back would make the truck a little top heavy as I almost rolled it going around the first corner.
We got to the fire and saved the dumpster from being a total loss.
I think I was a pretty good cop, but thinking it over, I was not a very good firemen. Both jobs require too much special training.