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Detroit's arson squad could move from fire to police department
BY BEN SCHMITT
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

July 13, 2004

Twenty-four members of the Detroit Fire Arson Squad may be soon looking for new jobs.

The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards has ruled that arson investigators, who have police powers and go through the police academy, can no longer work for the fire department, which is not considereda law-enforcement agency. The commission gave the fire department until Sept. 15 to come up with a solution.

Communications coordinatorDave Kingsaid the commission, a state agency, has been wrestling with theissue for six years, and the arson unit has been aware of the problem. The ruling involved other agencies throughout the state that were offering law enforcement services but lacked statutory authority, including public schools and private colleges.

"We bent over backwards to notify agencies," King said. "We don't question the need for the agency or legitimacy of what they're doing, but we have to scrutinize who is a recognized law enforcement officer in Michigan pursuant to legislation we're charged with administering."

King said it's possible that investigators will go to work for the police department, which will then investigate Detroit's suspicious fires.

"Our problem is that we have legislation that requires that police officers be employed by law enforcement agencies," he said. "These agencies didn't meet the legal definition of a law enforcement agency."

Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, said the union doesn't want to lose 24 positions to the police department.

"We want our firefighters to stay firefighters," he said. "Everybody is trying to work it out to make arson stay the way it is. However it works out, we want to make sure the collective bargaining rights aren't changed in any way, shape or form."

Brenda Braceful, deputy corporation counsel for the city, said negotiations are continuing.

Sandy Lewis, a Lansing lobbyist representing the firefighters union, said she thinks "it's a matter of putting all the parties together and working something out."

Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-223-4296 or [email protected].

Copyright © 2004 Detroit Free Press Inc.

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IMO this is just another way for LE to secure more jobs at the expense of the fire service. :evil: :evil:
 

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Well said arson.
For my college internship( Fire protection and safety) I interned with the Lynn Fire departments Arson sqaud. They work for the fire department but are also full fledged Essex county deputys. They were line firefighters till they went into arson and are two of the crustiest jakes I ever had the pleasure of working with. During a few investigations I learned so much because the fact is they knew how the fire behaved from haveing been firefighters,not from reading a book. When they were explaining it to me, my head was spinning and my pen raceing. No offense but I dont think a police officer would understand many of the quirks of fire without haveing been in several.
Lynn has a good system that works well and I highly respect thier agency, they are very good at what they do.
 
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