Montgomery DPS saving lives and money

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lieutenant Shannon Yost and Corporal Natalie Dixon are on the front lines when it comes to public safety.

Yost works for the Montgomery Fire Department. Dixon--the city's police force. But to them, they're on the same team.

"Police officers stop by the station. We see them on the side of the road," says Yost.

"We're serving one purpose, we're all serving one goal," adds Dixon.

Now, that teamwork is even greater with the creation of the city's Department of Public Safety.

It brought fire and police dispatchers under the same roof and now crews answer emergency calls faster.

"It just seems to be working out a whole lot better rather than dispatching the wrong person, the wrong type of unit to a scene and get there and time is wasted," says Yost.

"We get the information out quicker and it's a lot less that you have to go through," adds Dixon.

Not only has efficiency increased, but Montgomery DPS Director Chris Murphy says the merger saves $300,000 dollars by consolidating contracts both departments had for items like uniforms and sirens.

"That may mean we can buy a few more police cars.  That may mean we can hire a few more officers," says Murphy.

Both Yost and Dixon admit, the unity between fire fighters and police officers has always been there.

But thanks to the department's new cross-training program--allowing fire and police officials to ride together on calls--they understand what it takes to serve on all fronts.

"In the past, all we've ever seen each other do is what we see on the scene and that's it.  You don't kinda see behind the scenes," says Yost.

"It gives you an appreciation for what the other guy's doing," adds Dixon.

Directors are addressing certain rules for both fire and police officials to make sure everyone is treated fairly. Murphy says everything from tattoo policies to suspension periods are now equal between the two departments.

Murphy was the state's Director of Public Safety under the Riley administration. He says in his first six months in Montgomery, he's impressed with the level of commitment shown by those within the department.




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