75
      Tuesday
      89 / 63
      Wednesday
      89 / 66
      Thursday
      86 / 68

      Bay City begins merger of police & fire departments; 10 firefighters pinkslipped

      July 1 is a day many Bay City first responders hoped would never come.

      Police officer Kevin Kline never thought he'd be fighting fires.

      ??(I??m) currently in the fire academy right now,?? says Kline.

      The police union president is learning how to fight fires while working his police beat.

      ??I think it all be positive. I also believe it's going to be a difficult situation,?? says Kline. ??There's probably going to be some bumps in the road that we do have to work out,?? adds the 15-year veteran.

      Those bumps are what the firefighters union vice president is afraid of.

      "Nobody can guarantee me that those people are going to be there. If I have one person assigned---one PSO officer assigned to me for the day, what happens if he's on a bank robbery?,?? questions Kevin Sprygada.

      10 of Sprygada's fellow firefighters were pink slipped Monday.

      Acting city manager Dana Muscott says the merger won't compromise the safety of Bay City.

      ??Ultimately, it was down to dollars and cents and then second we looked at safety for our residents,?? says Muscott.

      City leaders say cross-training also allows officers to cover more areas of the city---like Earl Neal??s neighborhood.

      ??It??s going to be good for the environment, the community,?? says Neal.

      The now shuttered, Fire Station No. 5---across the street from Neal's home---will reopen with cross-trained officers.

      ??I i think it's a real positive thing. I know we got cutbacks and stuff in the city but I mean, you gotta do what you gotta do,?? adds Neal.

      ??I think it's going to be positive,?? says Kline.

      But don't tell that to firefighter Sprygada.

      ??We don't think it'll work,?? says Sprygada.

      The layoffs do not stop here. The city manager says about 10 more first responders will be laid off in the next couple of years.