Ensuring public safety is a critical responsibility of every community and one that many are finding increasingly challenging to meet. Whether it’s responding to the lack of volunteer firefighters, the skyrocketing demand for EMS, difficulty staffing the police department, a need to improve police-community relations, or planning for growing expenses, public safety organizations can often benefit from external expertise and problem-solving. CGR has helped dozens of communities devise fresh ways to address these challenges. Our approach often includes stakeholder engagement as it’s important to understand and work to meet the expectations of residents and the workforce.
Irondequoit Fire District Study
CGR was engaged by the five fire districts of the Town of Irondequoit (Laurelton, Point Pleasant, Ridge Culver, Sea Breeze and St. Paul Boulevard) to conduct a comprehensive study to evaluate their operations and identify options for improvement. CGR conducted interviews with an array of members of each department and town and county officials; gathered financial and operational data from a variety of sources; and led a survey of the firefighting workforce, both career and volunteer. All the fire districts face pressures related to declining volunteer activity, increased service demands and the growing costs of providing fire service. These concerns are common across the volunteer and combination fire service in the U.S. CGR detailed the districts’ strengths and challenges, and explored and modeled a number of options for improvement, including coordinated purchasing and training across the districts, new initiatives to attract and retain volunteers, and a potential consolidation of two districts, Laurelton and Ridge Culver. The consolidation of the two districts was completed in 2021 to form the Irondequoit Fire District.
Master Plan for the Avon Volunteer Fire Department (CT)
The Avon Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) serves the Town of Avon, CT, and its 19,000 residents as a fully volunteer organization. In 2022, AVFD is facing a series of challenges related to its personnel, an increased demand for services, the need to replace several apparatus and aging stations. The project analyzed the calls for service, apparatus, equipment, responder activity and volunteer engagement. The report also included an evaluation by an architect of the four fire stations. CGR worked with the AVFD and Town to develop a 10-year master plan to prioritize purchases, identify opportunities to improve staffing and making needed renovations and replacement of stations.
Tompkins County (NY) Law Enforcement Evaluation
In 2017, CGR conducted an evaluation of existing law enforcement in Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca and the villages of Cayuga Heights, Dryden and Groton. The project focused on determining what services exist and how they are currently performed, and then identified a series of options for potential changes to law enforcement. The project team conducted a survey, available to all residents of Tompkins County, to solicit their opinions of the existing operations. Options were discussed in a series of public meetings to gauge support for potential changes. The community is exploring a joint operational facility for the two largest agencies. Read the report at https://bit.ly/TompkinsLESS and visit the project website at https://www.cgr.org/TompkinsLESS.