The Growing Need for Independent Research and Analysis to Aid Chiefs in Evaluating Public Safety Consolidation Models

This month, Rockford, Michigan, will celebrate its one-year anniversary of officially consolidating its police and fire departments. This small city of 5,775 residents currently has its entire department cross-trained as public safety officers in fire, police, and medical services.

The decision to consolidate departments in Rockford was not a hasty one, but it certainly was prompted by financial hardship. Police Chief David Jones recognized more than seven years ago the impending need to consolidate departments, and he began researching and evaluating public safety models.1 When the economy tanked in 2008 and funds for public safety started drying up, Jones considered this budgetary calamity the right opportunity to push for a consolidated, cross-trained staff.