A total of two-dozen city workers could be fired in Davenport tonight (Wednesday), including a number of police officers and firefighters, as city leaders make a controversial vote to try to balance the budget. Les Norrin, president of the Davenport firefighters’ union, says eight firefighters jobs could be eliminated and that could take one of Davenport’s eight engine companies out of service. The result? Norrin says “Obviously, if we run a certain amount of run numbers with a certain amount of companies, if you take some of the people that answer the calls out, the other companies have to take up that slack so they become busier.”
Norrin says that could delay response times in serious situations. He says Davenport has eight engine companies and three truck companies and last year they ran 12-thousand-40 calls for service. On a typical housefire call, even though it’s logged as just one call, it requires a response of three units. At a public hearing Monday night, Davenport resident Spence Tracy says people don’t want to call 9-1-1 and find out there’s no one to respond to their emergency.
Tracy says they can’t rely on mutual aid, or turning to other cities for help with police or fire emergencies, as those cities are in the same budget situation. Police officer Carl Drezzek (DREZ-ick) spoke on behalf of the police union and ran down the numbers the department is handling with its current staff. Drezzek says they respond to over 140-thousand calls a year and that’s increasing, with 29-thousand police reports filed.
Norrin, the firefighters’ union spokesman, appealed to the council, to follow through on their promises.
Norrin says aldermen have clearly said public safety is their top priority, but he says actions will speak louder than words, “instead of merely talking the talk.”