When you get down to the nuts and bolts of what Salisbury is all about you come to learn that it is the leadership that is flat out destroying Salisbury as a whole.
Allow me to explain. We all know crime has been way up in Salisbury for many years now. Mind you, Chief Duncan and Mike Lewis have done a fantastic job and we should also thank the MSP for their role in reducing crime more recently.
However, look at the numbers. We took the time to look at the stats from the Sheriff's Department and quite frankly the majority of their calls are in Salisbury. Last year the SPD responded to almost 60,000 calls. I'll repeat, 60,000 calls! So just how many Police Officers do we have. It's somewhere around 70 Officers, many of which are not patrolling the streets.
The Sheriff's Department has somewhere near the same number of Officers and if you've never looked at just how big Wicomico County is, it would amaze you the territory they have to cover.
The Salisbury Fire Department has around SEVENTY+ Paid Firefighters on staff. While many of you are under the impression these men and women work 36 hour shifts straight, your mistaken. Are you ready???? At Station 16 the paid Firefighters work 24 hours ON and 72 hours OFF. Station 1 & 2 have paid Firefighters that work from 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday.
And you wonder why I, (and many of you) have a problem with them taking equipment to go get lunch or dinner.
So now you have a serious crime problem and the SFD has more coverage than the SPD. OK, now let's look even deeper. The image and stats we provided this morning cover all the calls coming into the SFD. MOST of those calls are EMS related. Only a very small percentage of those calls are fire related and that's how we came to an average of 3 fire related calls per day. Now, remove the FALSE ALARM calls and your probably down to ONE fire call a MONTH, not DAY. It's probably even far less than that, yet you have all this money going out to paid Firefighters it makes no sense.
The Leadership in the SFD and the Mayor's Office, (going back to Barrie Tilghman) have done everything in their powers to take just about anything and everything away from the VOLUNTEERS. That INCLUDES the old Fire Station 16 recently sold for $85,000.00. It was paid for and OWNED by the Volunteers, as well as other Stations in Salisbury. The leadership simply took them away from the Volunteers.
You and I were told when they were building the new Fire Palace that they were creating DORMS, (very expensive) to encourage new recruits, (volunteers) and even college students. They spent a small fortune building a palace kitchen so the Firefighter could comfortably cook meals there and gave us the impression they were stuck there for days on end. It was the Mayor and Fire Chief that SOLD the taxpayers as to why they were spending so much money.
Instead, the SFD Leadership have actually pushed the Volunteers out of the Department because their long term goal is to SECURE high paying jobs as well as sell us on why they are so important. Now they're even charging insurance companies for their services and even the local businesses all this money for false alarm calls, all of which are covered in the taxes we pay.
Yeah, the SFD is pissed at Joe Albero for EXPOSING this kind of information. They want to fly under the radar, so when we publish factual information they threaten to let my building burn down or my home. They threaten me by saying I better not even need a ride to the Hospital. Quite frankly it's a serious problem. What IF I do need their help. Am I to believe I'll be well cared for or protected, even after I arrive at PRMC? The clear answer to that question is, NO. Most tell me if I even get there I'll never leave alive.
So these guys want to talk about how they risk their lives as Hero's, what am I then Ladies & Gentlemen of the SFD? You may not agree with me or like me but WHAT IF something does happen to me. Am I to live my life in fear, God Forbid something were to happen. I am simply doing my JOB. I am exposing what has clearly been proven in comments to be a very a hot topic.
I firmly believe the taxpayers of Salisbury are wasting a ton of tax dollars by paying for this service. I firmly believe when you look at surrounding towns that DEPEND on their Fire Departments, the VOLUNTEERS do an incredible job. Buildings and homes are far better protected these days. We created better codes to assure massive fires like the one many years ago in Downtown Salisbury don't happen again. Could it happen, absolutely. But don't you think for a single second that those other towns surround the City wouldn't be there in a New York second to back up our Volunteers.
The City created a Code & Compliance Department to make sure more of the run down homes and buildings were brought up to code, making for better and safer living and use.
When we as a community see Fire Equipment going out to pick up food, do you really think every single person at the Fire Department ALL want one kind of food. The answer is NO. In most cases they are picking up BBQ at one place, subs at another, Chinese food and Penara Bread etc. Considering some are on a 12 hour shift, (we feel) you can bring your food in for the day just like most Americans do. The same goes for those who are being paid to sleep on a 24 hour shift. If that is not acceptable, we simply ask that you take one of the more than 14 chase vehicles, (Crown Vic's and Suburbans) to make your food runs.
I know there are some decent rebuttals referencing training but you and I both know this running around has been abused to no end. I do not believe the idea of using chase vehicles is unreasonable. The reason we are publishing so many images of equipment all over the city is because so many citizens have had enough of it. WE are being forced to cut back while the Fire Department continues to grow, and for what reason. Homes and buildings are much safer. Structure fires, (in the City) are few and far between and quite frankly you should be downsizing. Instead, you belong to an organization, (accreditation) that demands you hire more people, buy new equipment on a regular basis and the irresponsible leadership sells off extremely expensive used equipment to surrounding Volunteer Departments for a penny on the dollar.
Taxpayers of Salisbury are, (pardon the pun) tired of getting hosed. Bring back the Volunteers for crying out loud and perhaps divide the EMS from the Fire Department. The old Fire Station should have been used for just that, rather than also selling that for pennies on the dollar. Between salaries, overhead expenses, retirement packages, disability, health insurance, fuel and the list goes on and on, (as a businessman) I'd say it's time you shut that business down, (paid Firefighters) and let the honorable Volunteers protect this City. It simply makes good business sense, especially when you look at the stats from the MSP, SPD and WCSO. These other organizations deserve much better, respectfully.