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Independent review finds Lansing Fire Department suffers from lack of resources, lack of unity

Posted at 10:36 AM, Jun 04, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — An independent review of the Lansing Fire Department found that department suffers from a lack of unity and a lack of resources.

The Center for Safety Assessments and inclusion undertook the review at the city's request in December. The process involved in-person interviews, on-site investigations and walk-throughs of the department.

The review was not released to FOX 47 by the city, but a copy circulating on social media was confirmed as authentic by a City Council member.

It said the department doesn't have adequate resources, noting that it has only five five ambulances in service even though there should be eight, given the number of medical calls that come into the department.

The city's new Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant has been vocal about getting the department more money for necessities.

“I’ll be looking to work with HR and city hall for developing strategic plans for the organizations a fleet replacement plan for the organization facility update plan for the organization so that we could make sure our first responders have what they need to serve the community,” Sturdivant said, earlier this year.

The review found that department employees do not feel unified, which has affected morale.

Some of the employees who were interviewed referred to the department as an “Old Boys club where discipline is often inconsistent when racial issues are brought up and where minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ community are subject to unacceptable comments and behavior," the report said.

Sturdivant said, “We just want to make sure that our firefighters are supported that they’re safe and that they conduct themselves appropriately."

The review suggests that the city require racial bias training for fire department staff. The review also suggests reforms to the city’s human resources department. Interviewees had voiced concerns about consistency and timeliness of HR complaint investigations.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and the city’s HR department did not respond to interview requests, but the city's Communications Director Scott Beam sent a statement saying, ”The report was provided to City administration last Friday, just before the holiday weekend. We are starting to review it closely now and look forward to reading the recommendations and continuing to work on necessary reforms across City government.

"Mayor Schor has placed an increased emphasis on ensuring City government is a welcoming place for all," it said, "and data-driven policies are important to making this happen.”

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Tianna Jenkins

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