Public Safety

Public Safety

Fire and Emergency Medical Services. 22

Fire and EMS Future Considerations. 27

Law Enforcement27

Dispatch. 32

Summary of Public Safety Savings / (Costs)32

Advantages of Unification and Scale. 32

  

Public Safety

The Public Safety Workgroup was tasked with considering and making recommendations on fire, emergency medical services and law enforcement functions. The workgroup also considered a potential option for emergency communications that is already under discussion in the community outside of the consolidation study process.

The options and recommendations presented below offer an overview of how services might be provided by a unified government. The need for public safety services will not change substantially with consolidation. The same number of people and buildings will exist. The same type of traffic and commerce will continue. Residents will continue to have emergencies. Fires will still occur and crime will continue. Some efficiencies in providing the service may be identified when the two cities merge, particularly at the administrative level, but there will not be wholesale changes in services.

Fire and Emergency Medical Services

The two cities provide the services using different models, and consolidation would require adjustment into a single model. Lewiston is transitioning to provide a consistent EMS first response with its fire department and uses United Ambulance Service (UAS) for all EMS responses. Prior to 2014, Auburn used the model of fire department EMS first response with UAS transport. In 2014, AFD started using its firefighters to staff ambulances and to provide transport for 911 EMS calls. The motivations for the change were faster response times, greater productivity from the firefighters and revenue from patient billing to offset the cost of the fire service.

The Public Safety Workgroup considered each service separately and identified two prospective options for a merged city to consider for implementation. There were common concerns with both prospective models that would need to be addressed:

·       Current level of firefighting staff, station locations and equipment would be needed to retain the very good ISO fire protection ratings.

·       A minimum of basic life support first response is needed by fire departments in the 21st century. Lewiston would need to complete the transition to EMR training to meet this standard.

·       The work shifts would need to be harmonized. A recent external evaluation of Auburn’s fire department showed that they could effectively add several line or administrative positions by moving to Lewiston’s schedule.

·       A new fire department would need to add a training officer (new position) and maintain adequate line command staff on each shift.

·       The retirement plan for Auburn firefighters has a substantially better benefit than Lewiston’s (two-thirds of final pay vs. one-half of final pay) while Lewiston has better benefits for time off (i.e. vacation and sick time).

·       Several of the fire stations in the two cities need refurbishment or replacement.


Note: Regarding the models presented below, readers should note that the workgroup determined that in the event of consolidation certain changes would be necessary that would make it unlikely for a purely “merged baseline” model to be functional. As such, the models below are labeled “Model 1” and “Model 2.”

Model 1: Fire Service w/ 2 Paramedic Ambulances on Duty /
Workgroup Recommendation

The workgroup recommends that the merged city maintain the model of a fire department with two paramedic ambulances in service, with some reduction in administrative positions. However, the new city should evaluate the long-term provision of EMS transportation to identify the model that provides the highest value of service at an acceptable cost.

This option takes the existing operations of the two fire departments and joins them together with minimal disruption. All personnel would be retained except the elimination of a chief position, elimination of a deputy chief, and a net loss of firefighter three positions (one lieutenant and two firefighters). There would also be the addition of a training officer in the fire department.

The line staff would move to the Lewiston model which would have 3 platoons with “Kelly” days. A matrix showing a potential harmonized work shift is below. The result is a single on-duty chief, an engine on each side of the river with a captain in charge, four three-person engine companies, two four-person truck companies and two ambulance crews. The on-duty dedicated firefighting force is a minimum of 27 personnel plus four transport EMS staff, with 10 personnel (including 2 lieutenants) to float to cover Kelly days.

Status Quo Harmonized Work Schedule

 

Battalion Chief

Captain

Lieutenant

Firefighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Command

1

-

-

-

Engine L3

-

1

-

2

Engine L4

-

-

1

2

Engine L5

-

-

1

2

Engine L7

-

-

1

2

Truck L1

-

-

1

3

Engine A3

-

1

-

2

Engine A2

-

-

1

2

Truck A1

-

-

1

3

Ambulance A3

-

-

1

1

Ambulance A5

-

-

1

1

Kelly

-

-

2

8

Per Platoon

1

2

10

28

Line Staff

3

6

30

84

 

 

 

 

 

The department would retain 2 paramedic ambulances on duty at all times and would contract for service with a private ambulance service, such as United Ambulance Services, for between 3 and 5 ambulances to be available for 911 calls based on call volume. The private service would be required to meet contractual obligations for response times and patient care levels to ensure appropriate care to patients. The final model for staffing is shown below. All the reductions could be managed through attrition.

Fire Service Staffing Matrix, Assuming Status Quo and Maintain Transport EMS

 

Lewiston

Auburn

Current
Combined

Status Quo w/ EMS

Net Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief

1

1

2

1

-1

Deputy / Assistant Chief

1

1

2

1

-1

Deputy Chief for EMS

-

1

1

1

n/c

Battalion Chief

-

4

4

4

n/c

Admin Assistant

1

-

1

1

n/c

Captain

4

4

8

8

n/c

Lieutenant (incl EMS)

15

16

31

30

-1

Firefighter (incl EMS)

49

37

86

84

-2

Fire Planner

-

1

1

1

n/c

Maintenance Tech

1

-

1

1

n/c

Fire Inspector

1

-

1

1

n/c

Fire Prevention Officer

-

1

1

1

n/c

Office Manager

-

1

1

1

n/c

Principal Clerk

0.5

-

0.5

0.5

n/c

Training

-

-

-

1

+1

Total

73.5

67

140.5

136.5

-4

 

Fiscal and Service Impact: The financial impact of this model is a decrease of about $249,000 over the current salary cost of the fire service. When benefits are included, the cost savings grows to about $349,000. This savings come with the addition of a training officer and the potential to better control overtime costs with the assignment of “Kelly” staff. There is also the potential for increased ambulance transport revenue if resources are deployed in a manner to respond to additional calls. Under a unified city, certain areas would see improved response times as the closest station is sometimes across the river; for example, the area around Great Falls Plaza in Auburn is closer to a Lewiston Fire Station.

Transition: A portion of the transition to this model would need to be accomplished through negotiation to harmonize the work schedules between the two fire departments. The changes in staffing levels would be accomplished through attrition.

Model 2: Shift Transport EMS to Private Service w/ Corresponding Reduction in Staff

The workgroup considered and did not recommend this model, an alternative EMS delivery model that would utilize a private service to perform EMS transports. Under this model, the fire service would retain the current number and type of apparatus that are typically on duty today. The staffing for those apparatus would follow a single city staffing model based on the current Lewiston model. There would be an elimination of 6 lieutenant and 6 firefighter positons based on the elimination of 2 ambulance units per shift. (These four personnel on occasion are used to staff another fire engine when needed.) Also, two Kelly positions (1 lieutenant and 1 firefighter) per shift could be eliminated as there would be fewer off shifts to cover. The resulting staff would still be more dedicated firefighters (1 per shift plus Kelly staff) and an equal number of apparatus as exists today.

Fire Department with No EMS Transport Work Schedule

 

Battalion Chief

Captain

Lieutenant

Firefighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Command

1

-

-

-

Engine L3

-

1

-

2

Engine L4

-

-

1

2

Engine L5

-

-

1

2

Engine L7

-

-

1

2

Truck L1

-

-

1

3

Engine A3

-

1

-

2

Engine A2

-

-

1

2

Truck A1

-

-

1

3

Kelly

-

-

1

7

Per Platoon

1

2

8

25

Line Staff

3

6

24

75


The resulting workforce for the fire department would be smaller by the EMS deputy chief position, 7 lieutenant positions and 11 firefighters. The workforce reduction could be accomplished through a combination of attrition and early retirement incentives as a substantial portion of the fire department workforce is currently at or near retirement age.

Fire Service Staffing Matrix, Assuming No EMS Transport

 

Lewiston

Auburn

Current
Combined

Proposed

Net Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief

1

1

2

1

-1

Deputy / Assistant Chief

1

1

2

1

-1

Deputy Chief for EMS

-

1

1

0

-1

Battalion Chief

-

4

4

4

n/c

Admin Assistant

1

-

1

1

n/c

Captain

4

4

8

8

n/c

Lieutenant

15

16

31

24

-7

Firefighter

49

37

86

75

-11

Fire Planner

-

1

1

1

n/c

Maintenance Tech

1

-

1

1

n/c

Fire Inspector

1

-

1

1

n/c

Fire Prevention Officer

-

1

1

1

n/c

Office Manager

-

1

1

1

n/c

Principal Clerk

0.5

-

0.5

0.5

n/c

Training

-

-

-

1

+1

Total

73.5

67

140.5

119.5

-20

 

EMS transport service would be provided by a private EMS provider, likely United Ambulance Service, under a contract that requires a minimum number of paramedic units on duty and response to emergencies under strict rule (i.e. an ambulance must arrive at serious events in 8 minutes or less, 90 percent of the time, in all wards of the city). There would need to be administrative time to oversee the contract and ensure compliance, but no other staff time related to transport EMS. 

Fiscal Impact: The fiscal impact of outsourcing all EMS is a savings of $1.03 million in salaries and about another $410,000 in benefits. Eliminating this service would also reduce associated operational costs such as vehicle maintenance, fuel, capital, medical supplies and insurance. This reduction in expenses would also eliminate the city’s ambulance revenue, which is currently about $1.3 million in Auburn. (As noted above, the ambulances could possibly be redeployed to increase utilization and revenue through deployment across the whole city.) There might also an increase in revenue from a charge to the commercial ambulance service for the first response service of the fire departments, as well as the possibility of a franchise agreement with the commercial provider.

Transition: The number of positions that would be eliminated under this option is likely not able to be accomplished through attrition and might necessitate layoffs. There would need to be a significant lead time to move to this option to allow for an appropriate contracting process and for the vendor to develop the needed capacity.

Drawbacks: The workgroup considers the loss of the highly trained dual purpose firefighting personnel to be a substantial drawback because it reduces the ability of the fire department to respond to a surge in call volume. Additionally, residents have become accustomed to the service provided by the Auburn Fire Department ambulances.

Fire and EMS Future Considerations

The two cities are using different models for EMS transport and each are currently satisfied with their models. The current situation includes generating enough revenue from EMS transport in Auburn to cover the expenses of operating the ambulance service. A thorough evaluation should be performed comparing the hybrid model, using a private service for all, or using city personnel for all EMS transport, 

Law Enforcement

The two police departments have many common characteristics in how they operate and their administrative structure. Both departments operate with an Administrative Division containing the department leaders and support staff; a Patrol Division that focuses on police work in the community; a Criminal Investigative Division that is responsible for investigation of crimes; and a Support Services Division that assist the rest of the department with tasks including records maintenance, property management, crime analysis and parking enforcement.

Overall, the two departments have many common approaches to law enforcement. Both train at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (where all law enforcement officers in Maine receive basic law enforcement training); both place a high value on using technology and data to target resources; and both are very active with youth in the community. The departments dispatch using the same radio system and use common recordkeeping software.

The most substantial differences involve shift length, equipment and collective bargaining agreements. Lewiston uses 8-hour patrol shifts while Auburn uses 11-hour shifts. They utilize different side arms and patrol vehicle types. The collective bargaining agreements governing sworn personnel have different benefit levels that would have to be harmonized in the context of future CBAs.

Staffing Matrix

 

 

 

 

Current Lewiston

Current Auburn

Current Combined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief

1

1

2

Deputy Chief

1

1

2

Commander

-

-

-

Lieutenant

5

4

9

Sergeant

10

11

21

Corporal

4

0

4

Detective

14

4

18

SRO

3

3

6

Task Forces

8

2

10

CRO

3

-

3

DV Coordinator

1

-

1

Officer

32

28

60

Sworn Total

82

54

136

Exec Assistant

0

1

1

Admin Assistant

1

-

1

Info Assistant

-

2

2

CID Clerk

1

-

1

Planner

-

1

1

Records Clerk

4

-

4

Court Liaison

1

1

2

Civil Process

-

-

-

Property Tech

1

1

2

Crime Analysis

1

1

2

Building Maintenance

-

-

-

Police Service Mgr

-

-

-

Parking

2

-

2

ACO

1

-

1

Non Sworn Total

12

7

19

Total

94

61

155

 

 

 

 

Note: Regarding the models presented below, readers should note that the workgroup determined that in the event of consolidation certain changes would be necessary that would make it unlikely for a purely “merged baseline” model to be functional. As such, the models below are labeled “Model 1” and “Model 2.”

Model 1

Model 1 is for the two departments to merge with minimal changes in staffing. It includes the retention of all current positions and titles with the exception of one of the two chief positions being moved to a deputy chief title. The two civilian evidence property technician positions would be eliminated. These positions would be replaced by work of sworn officers.  Also, a civilian position of police property manager would be created to help manage the property in the department. All current corporals would move to the title of detective.

Model 1 Staffing

 

 

 

Current Combined

Proposed

Net Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief

2

1

-1

Deputy Chief

2

3

+1

Commander

-

-

n/c

Lieutenant

9

9

n/c

Sergeant

21

21

n/c

Corporal

4

0

-4

Detective

18

22

+4

SRO

6

6

n/c

Task Forces

10

10

n/c

CRO

3

3

n/c

DV Coordinator

1

1

n/c

Officer

60

60

n/c

Sworn Total

136

136

n/c

Exec Assistant

1

1

n/c

Admin Assistant

1

4

+3

Info Assistant

2

-

-2

CID Clerk

1

-

-1

Planner

1

1

n/c

Records Clerk

4

4

n/c

Court Liaison

2

2

n/c

Civil Process

-

-

n/c

Property Tech

2

-

-2

Crime Analysis

2

2

n/c

Building Maintenance

-

-

n/c

Police Service Mgr

-

1

+1

Parking

2

3

+1

ACO

1

1

n/c

Non Sworn Total

19

19

n/c

Total

155

155

n/c


The salary cost of this model is estimated to be $8.4 million. CGR used this figure instead of the budget figures (which are utilized in other sections of the report) because the number of existing positions differs from the budgeted staffing levels. This model was used as the baseline for calculating the fiscal impact of the other option that follows.

Model 2 / Workgroup Recommendation

Model 2 is the preferred option from the workgroup and was developed to address several concerns that were identified during the workgroup’s meetings and analysis done by workgroup members. The changes are highlighted below:

·       Key Changes

·        One chief position changed to a Deputy Chief

·        Current Deputy Chief position titles would be changed to Commander

·        No more civilian evidence property managers; done by sworn detectives

·        Civilian manager for departmental property

·        Civilian assigned to manage grants and accreditation

·        Current Lewiston base patrol officer staffing is 7 and current Auburn base patrol officer staffing is 4 for a total of 11 officers; Under proposed 12-hour / 4 platoon rotation there would be between 14 to 16 patrol officers working

·         Beat areas would be readdressed

·         Road Sergeants coverage areas would be created

·       Additions

·        Professional standards team

·        Full-time evidence collection team comprised of detectives

·       Losses

·        Traffic enforcement team, however there would be additional specific patrol officers assigned to this task

·       Transition Considerations

·        The preferred station location would be a new purpose-built station for the combined department. However, an alternative that would be a workable situation at the start of the merged city would be Auburn City Hall. The benefits of the building include:

·         Newer and more space including parking garage

·         Could house service providers and civil / restorative justice court room

·         Would need small walk-in office in Lewiston

·        A less desirable option would be to use the Lewiston Police station with access to additional parking and an expansion of some facilities.

·        To standardize equipment, the vehicles are on a three-year rotation before the entire fleet would match. It is not necessary to have the same make / model. The department would move to a uniform firearm when it is time to rotate.

·        Through attrition some positions would change or be eliminated.

Revised Staffing Model After Attrition

 

 

 

Current Combined

Proposed

Net Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief

2

1

-1

Deputy Chief

2

1

-1

Commander

-

2

+2

Lieutenant

9

6

-3

Sergeant

21

16

-5

Corporal

4

0

-4

Detective

18

15

-3

SRO

6

6

n/c

Task Forces

10

9

-1

CRO

3

4

+1

DV Coordinator

1

1

n/c

Officer

60

69

+9

Sworn Total

136

130

-6

Exec Assistant

1

1

n/c

Admin Assistant

1

4

+3

Info Assistant

2

-

-2

CID Clerk

1

-

-1

Planner

1

1

n/c

Records Clerk

4

4

n/c

Court Liaison

2

2

n/c

Civil Process

-

1

+1

Property Tech

2

1

-1

Crime Analysis

2

2

n/c

Building Maintenance

-

1

+1

Police Service Mgr

-

1

+1

Parking

2

3

+1

ACO

1

1

n/c

Non Sworn Total

19

22

+3

Total

155

152

-3

 

Fiscal Impact: Reclassify two deputy chief positons to commander, with no change in pay; through attrition and realignment reduce three lieutenants, five sergeants, and six detectives; eliminate one task force officer and add nine officers. This is a net reduction of 6 sworn officers with a realignment that increases the strength of patrol officers by 9, while reducing 15 mid-level sworn positions through attrition. The model also includes a net increase of three non-sworn employees. The result is a projected salary savings of $547,000 compared to the baseline model; fully-loaded with benefits, the estimated savings is $770,000.

Dispatch

The workgroup recommends moving dispatch from the current separate joint organization into the police department. The employees would remain civilian employees, but would be overseen through the police department chain of command. Discussions related to this proposed change have been underway outside of the work of the Joint Charter Commission process.

Summary of Public Safety Savings / (Costs)

Based on workgroup recommendations:

Fire and EMS

$349,000

Police

$770,000

 

Annual Recurring Savings

 

$1,119,000

 

Advantages of Unification and Scale

In the course of the Commission and Workgroup’s discussions, some potential advantages of merger were raised – beyond the financial implications presented above.

Police: A combined operation would provide opportunity for additional specialization, particularly in investigations and the use of data to more strategically target service areas. Patrolling as one community would also help better address law enforcement challenges that are either shared by both cities or move back and forth across the Consolidation of fire departments would ensure fire emergencies are being responded to by the closest available resource.  current municipal border.

Fire: A merger would address the current situation where certain areas of one city are closer to the fire response resources of the other city than to their own. A single city and single department would ensure that fire emergencies are being responded to by the closest available resource. It should also be noted that structure fires are becoming increasingly rare, with large scale fires that require multi-agency response rarer still. The best way to be prepared for such events is to have departments working together – or in this case, have a single larger-capability department. A single fire department would also allow for more specialization, particularly in areas such as technical rescue and hazardous materials.