I think these comments arose because of a proposed study of the Fire Division. There have been a couple of other comments about restructuring the chain of command. Previously there were several other comments about Fire Chief Tidwell, which I did not post as I could not verify them. Chief Tidwell himself posted on March 8 on Facebook that he had been under investigation but was cleared:
For 7 months I bore a heavy burden, until yesterday. I was under investigation for allegations of misuse of authority, misappropriating funds and ethics violations.
The prosecutor's office was involved and Internal Affairs.
"The investigation is concluded and there will be no disciplinary action."
Tidwell gave thanks for the outcome.
Regarding other forms of fire safety, there are fire districts that use volunteer companies. They are governed by boards of commissioners and their budgets are funded by taxpayers. When I lived in Millington, I learned about the klaxons that sounded alarms for volunteers to respond to fires. Instead of being at a firehouse, they would come from home or work. Certainly they did not face the challenges of high-rise senior complexes or multi-family apartment buildings such as we have in Plainfield.
Fire and police have different hierarchies. I remember when it was mandated that a police chief had to get a certain percentage higher salary than captains, while no such rule applied to fire chiefs until they also won the right to a differential. Police, as far as I know, are part of a hierarchy of law enforcement that spans several levels of government, while fire responders appear to be more localized.
Plainfield police are undergoing an accreditation process to assure adherence to best practices. Surely it is in the public interest to take a look at the Fire Division, even though both entities have ongoing training for personnel. Management can often gain from an outside assessment as well. Police and Fire expenses are currently 60 percent of the city budget, so any cost-cutting improvements should be welcomed.