[image-1]Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg is calling on his fellow city leaders to consider establishing a Department of Public Safety to oversee the city’s police, fire, and emergency services departments. According to a statement released by the city, Tecklenburg will ask the city’s Public Safety Committee to study the feasibility of creating such a department, which the mayor has asked Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen to lead as the city’s first director of public safety.
“More than a hundred municipalities around the country are currently using this model to make their cities and their citizens safer. That’s why I’m asking council to study this change, and to consider adopting it in the months ahead,” Tecklenburg said. “At the same time, I will be asking council to resolve that any and all savings that might result from these suggested changes be reinvested dollar for dollar in the men and women who work every day to keep our city safe — the skilled and dedicated first responders of Charleston, S.C.”
The statement from the city cites Kalamazoo, Mich.; Canton, Mo.; Sunnyvale, Cali.; and Montgomery, Ala. as communities that have found success under this unified model. According to the city, Charleston’s police, fire, and emergency services departments would remain distinct entities with their own chiefs, training, and command structure.
With the recent announcement that Fire Chief Karen Brack would be stepping down from her role, the mayor has named Deputy Chief John Tippett to serve as the city’s Interim Fire Chief, effective April 7, until a permanent chief can be selected.