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Indianapolis Fire Department merges with township force

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Database Admin
Jul 3, 2003

Indiana's largest fire department will merge with the state's fifth-largest force as part of a $20 million cost-saving plan outlined by Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.

The City-County Council voted 17-10 Monday evening to consolidate the Indianapolis and Washington Township fire departments.

The move, which will take place next year, is expected to save $2.3 million annually.

"It could be a good template for the rest of the county if it goes well," said Marilyn Pfisterer, one of three Republican council members to vote for the merger. "Or it could be a lesson if it doesn't."

Peterson said he hopes to combine all eight township fire departments.

The chiefs will begin meeting immediately to discuss how to combine the two forces that routinely cooperate during fire and medical emergencies.

Still, opponents said they didn't think the merger would improve public safety or save money, especially without station closings or layoffs.

"I'm just not convinced," said Councilman Philip Borst, the Republican minority leader. "It doesn't make sense that we're enhancing public safety by doing what it already sounds like we are doing."

Indianapolis Fire Chief James Greeson said his department will bring hazardous materials, heavy extrication and water rescue operations to the township.

The two departments already work closely on areas such as hiring, training, equipment and communications. Greeson said the two departments still need to merge technology and personnel.

"What's going on is a giant step toward much better delivery of fire services," he said.


Premium Subscriber
Feb 6, 2004
Louisville, KY
Our humble fire department has been involved in two mergers in the past four years. Only a modest money savings was noticed.

Merging actually increased job security for the two smaller departments.

No layoffs happened. Just the opposite - additional positions were created.

About the only adverse thing was some folks moving down in the ranks (though they ended up receiving a higher salary).
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