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Mayor implements racial sensitivity plan in Lansing Fire Department

Posted: 4:29 PM, Mar 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-07 06:04:26-05
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LANSING, Mich. — On Wednesday, the Lansing Mayor released a statement saying that a new racial diversity and sensitivity would go into place in the City of Lansing Government.

"As Mayor of the City of Lansing, I am committed to continuing to work toward racial equity," Andy Schor said.

"We must all work together to ensure that no one is left behind or treated differently based upon race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other distinguishing characteristics. The city must lead by example through a diverse workforce that is both trusted and representative of our residents."

He released his second executive order as Mayor which created the Mayor's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

A task of this group will be to provide recommendations on handling any disparities or the lack of participation of minorities in employment or other aspects of city government.

He said that the Lansing Police Department has made it a priority to recruit, train, and retain a diverse force.

In regards to the Lansing Fire Department, he said the city is implementing an action plan to ensure that there is racial sensitivity and fair treatment within the ranks.

He broke the plan down like this:

1. Creation of a Cadet Youth program: We know that nationally, there is a lack of
young people who want to become firefighters. The City of Lansing will create a
cadet youth program, similar to the Lansing Police Department explorer program, in
order to engage with young people and show them what a great and honorable
profession this is. A paramedic requires 2,400 hours of training. We need to get
young people involved early, then we can hire cadets from Lansing, similar to what
the Lansing Police Department does. Additionally, LFD and LPD have held the
Lansing Public Safety Youth Leadership Academy for kids between the ages of 13
and 16. Thanks to a partnership between LPD, LFD, Lansing Parks and Recreation
and the Lansing School District, the program offers five days of comprehensive
learning experiences focused on police and fire professions. The program has been
very successful in building and strengthening the relationship between first
responders and the Lansing youth. We will offer this program again in summer of
2019.

2. Create an appropriate mix of paramedics and EMTs to ensure efficiency and
diversity: LFD is the only fire department in the region that doesn’t require the
hiring of paramedics; paired with dozens of retirements and promotions, we needed
to hire paramedics to ensure that we could adequately respond to calls. For this
reason, the most recent firefighter class hired by the City of Lansing was all
paramedics. While all of the new hires are very qualified, the diversity of the class
was not what I had hoped. This group has my deepest confidence that they will do
a great job, however, we still need to bring in additional firefighters. Hiring a mix of
paramedics and EMTs in the future will ensure a considerably larger pool of
candidates, which will help facilitate the retention of a more diverse workforce
while still providing the response that is expected by Lansing residents.

3. We must strive to maintain a workforce demographically representative of Lansing’s
diverse community, especially in public safety: I am proud that LFD closely matches
the diverse makeup of our city, and I would put our numbers up against any other
fire department. LFD is currently 19.5% African American, for a city with a 23%
African American population; 7.6% Latino, for a 12.5% Latino population; 1.2%
Asian, for a 3.7% Asian population; 0.6% other, for a population that identifies as
4.3% other, and 6.2% mixed; and, 71.5% Caucasian, for a 61% Caucasian population.
Right now, our numbers closely match our community, but we can strive to do
better and be a more diverse workforce that represents our city. We need to have
the candidates apply, though, and the minority candidate pool is not currently out
there for Lansing or other cities. We will try to create our own candidates through
the Cadet Youth program, and a mix of Paramedics and EMTs that ensures
appropriate response as well as a diverse department.

4. Training – LFD will continue to have regular racial sensitivity trainings in the
department that are more than just online.

5. We do not, and will not stand for discrimination or racial insensitivity in any
department.

6. We will continue to have qualified firefighters that are ready to respond to any
emergency in the City of Lansing.
7. We will have concerns addressed appropriately - Any concerns raised internally will
be thoroughly researched by our Human Resources Department. Citizens can raise
concerns with our independent Fire Board of Commissioners. Additionally, we have
an independent investigator that works with the city as needed.

"I have complete confidence in our employees to get the job done on behalf of our citizens, and I will do my best to remove any trust barriers that may exist in our community," Schor said.

"I look forward to working with all members of our great City of Lansing to move forward together for the benefit of ALL citizens of Lansing."