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Grand jury to Stockton: Reduce fire services

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Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:00 am, Tue May 24, 2011.

Stockton firefighters could soon see fewer people on a shift. A report on minimum staffing levels for the Stockton Fire Department by the San Joaquin County 2010-2011 Civil Grand Jury released Monday recommends the city reduce its staff on fire engines to three firefighters and staff and fire trucks to four.

The grand jury also recommends the department create a relief pool from a staffing reduction to cover firefighters on leave instead of paying overtime. The reduction in staff would be similar to what agencies in surrounding areas work with and could save between $5 million and $7 million annually, the report said.

The city of Stockton has 90 days to respond with a finding and recommendation in writing to the presiding judge of the superior court.

The Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456 criticized the report in a statement Monday afternoon.

“While the Grand Jury raises an important question as to what should the appropriate staffing level of a fire department be, it does absolutely no analysis into actual service delivery. It focuses solely on costs — which is a dangerous position to take when discussing how to best protect 350,000 people,” the response said.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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