The mayor has ended a stepped-up fire watch program that has been criticized heavily as a waste of resources by the city’s firefighters union.
In a press release issued Saturday, Mayor Tony George stated: “At this time, after evaluating all of the available data and information collected over the past two months, the decision has been made to restore the prior Community Fire Watch schedule.”
The statement continues: “To be clear, fire watches will continue, and we will continue to explore ways to better serve the citizens and enhance public safety.”
The union has said fire trucks were not meant to be used for continuous patrolling and it had caused vehicles to be put out of service.
The mayor, meanwhile, argued the watches benefited firefighters’ health and were less expensive than what the average firefighter is paid in wages and benefits.
As his release stated, the mayor wanted firefighters to be “more visible in the community throughout their shift.”