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      Police cross training - Genesee County Paramedics

      Local communities, faced with ongoing budget woes, are constantly looking for ways to save money.

      In the area of public serivce, one option being discussed is cross training police officers. While several mid-Michigan governmental units are seriously considering adopting the concept in their communties, the idea is not new. In fact, it's been practiced in Genesee County for over thirty years.

      "I try to stay confident and relaxed as much as possible," says deputy Wendell Lewis who is also cross trained as a licensed paramedic.

      "These people that become paramedics are some of the brightest people, some of the hardest working people," says Sheriff Robert Pickell, "and you take those two ingredients, you put them together, they're out there saving lives."

      "When somebody's life is in peril," says Undersheriff Chris Swanson, who's also a veteran paramedic,"to have somebody show up, provide what they need, it's a great feeling." Swanson adds "in a county and a state where we need so many police officers, we have this blend that allows us to have forty extra police officers who just happen to be trained as a paramedic."