Lindsay to get separate firefighters and police officers for 1st time in decades

For decades, the small South Valley city has been one of 3 places in California where police officers are also firefighters.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022
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For decades, Lindsay has been one of three places in California where police officers are also firefighters. But now, that's about to change.

LINDSAY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Public Safety services in the small South Valley city of Lindsay have always been a little different.

Back in 2010, police officers hired were also trained to fight fire. Since then it's had one of the only three departments in California where police officers are also firefighters.

Lieutenant Nicholas Nave was one of the first to get cross-trained.

"Obviously, it was a different time globally as well as here at the department. We had a significant amount of staffing that we haven't seen before or since. We had 26 members so plenty of people to do both things, and it made sense at the time," says Nave.

As years passed, the number of staff decreased, and it became challenging for the same people to cover all the different types of calls across the community.

"Out on patrol, they might be out on a DV call or an assault and when we get a fire call. They have to find manpower to break, come back to the station and get the truck and respond to the scene," says Director of Public Safety Rick Carrillo.

The city recently implemented a more traditional safety model, and last Friday, four volunteer firefighters were sworn in to serve - along with one fire Lieutenant and two full-time fire engineers.

"It will be one of those three full-time all of the time. And having another person as myself who can fill in and we have six certified fire ones who are cross-trained so we have a good base of people to provide service now as we transition the police off of that duty," says Nave.

Nave says having 24/7 fire service will help all of the city's first responders serve and protect the community more quickly and efficiently.

"For us to be able to send resources to every single call is better for the community as a whole, and as a resident of this community, I am very excited," save Nave.

Both director Carillo and Lt. Nave tell me they've always been thankful for the support from neighboring cities like Porterville and Tulare County Fire in times of need.

If you're interested in volunteering, you can contact the city of Lindsay.