While the administration continues to peddle the ‘report-to-work lockers and garage substation’ concept the rest of the policing community refers to them as ‘precincts’;

Sioux Falls City Hall anticipates spending tens of millions of dollars in the coming years and decades on new police facilities around the city.

Two years after opening what’s referred to as a report-to-work station in southern Sioux Falls, Mayor Paul TenHaken and the Sioux Falls Police Department are now eyeing a future with even more standalone police facilities apart from the central law enforcement headquarters downtown.

More than $4 million is marked in the city’s five-year capital plan for a police substation in southwest Sioux Falls, near 41st Street and Faith Avenue. But unlike the report-to-work station that opened in March 2021 near 57th Street and Louise Avenue — an unstaffed garage with locker spaces where officers begin and end their shifts — the substation planned at 41st Street and Faith Avenue will serve as public-interfacing facility.

Word semantics aside, a former city employee pointed out to me it would make more sense to build these substations with the firehouses, even if we have to add on to them. I have also suggested that we go whole hog and just implement a public ambulance service in coordination with the police substations and firehouses. It also goes back to my suggestion of cross training our officers and firefighters to perform other duties.

We all know the current ambulance contract will expire in a couple of years and it would only make sense to prepare for the public option now. That of course would take strategic planning in a public open forum.

I am not opposed to different city departments cross training. I have often said that cross training between two departments would be beneficial to taxpayers;

With the increased workload, Public Works has put out the call for additional assistance. One who answered that call is Sioux Falls Master Firefighter Tim Schons.

“We received notice from Public Works that they were in need of individuals to help out their crews, just man-power wise,” Schons said. He chose to sign up to lend a hand.

Besides the obvious question, ‘If a firefighter has time to fill potholes you wonder if they have enough to do?’ OR ‘Why haven’t we been using the fire department for extra street work to begin with?’

But what I found interesting is this;

The main reason for Schons’ decision to sign up was a feeling of civic duty. “We are paid of course for working, but it is volunteer,” he said. “Public Works and the rest of the entities in the city help us during emergencies — well now they are in need of help and this gives us the opportunity to kind of return the favor — the ultimate goal is to help out the citizens.”

Yes they are, if you look at the city salary data for 2023 you will see that temporary service employees for the street department make around $20 an hour which is decent pay if you are pulling 40 hours a week. Mr. Schon makes around $75K a year which equals about $36 a hour. If I were Mr. Schon I wouldn’t mention that to the other guys at coffee break.

I also wonder what the Firefighters Union thinks of this?

Maybe the city should recruit some engineers to fill potholes, I heard they are not really busy these days.

If you watch the testimony last night at the Sioux Falls City Council Meeting (FF: 4:20) from a division fire chief about our leases with Paramedics Logistics you get some questions answered, and have even more when it concludes.

Apparently we do get reimbursed for rides we give with the leased ambulances. Paramedics Logistics bills the client, than we bill them. So how much has that reimbursement been? $0.

Why? Because according to this division chief we have never used the leased ambulances yet for transports. So why are we leasing them? Good question.

But I have also heard through the grapevine that SFFR are in fact transporting patients, but are using OUR ambulances that we already have.

So a few questions here, if the city doesn’t have an ambulance license how can we responsibly be transferring patients when it comes to liability issues using our ambulances instead of the ones we are leasing? Also, if we are using our ambulances, how are we billing for these rides? My guess is we are not, and if we are, how does that work? Who gets the money? General fund or SFFD?

There are still many holes in this lease agreement for two stationary ambulances.

I’m not sure if the division chief was either partially lying, partially telling the truth, or just leaving out huge swaths of what is really going on? Hopefully Councilor Starr who was questioning him last night will ask for the data.

So Mr. Goodroad works his way to the top of the pay scale and after putting in a couple of years retires;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Brad Goodroad announced his plan to retire in February 2021 after a 27-year career.

Goodroad has been chief since 2017 and will retire on February 12.

Goodroad began his career with SFFR in 1994 and progressed to captain, battalion chief, and eventually division chief.

While I admit he has put in his 27 years and (legally) deserves his retirement, you would have thought this was brought up when he took the job? Usually when you appoint someone to be chief you can get at least 8-10 years out of them or longer. I would be curious if Brad bothered to tell the last administration he planned to only serve until he was eligible? I also wonder what cushy golden parachute job he is moving into while collecting bank from top of the pay scale retirement?

I have seen this before with city management before retirement, they lock themselves in a couple of years at the top of the scale then bail (I fixed the spelling of this word due to a grammar Nazi, thanks grammar Nazi). This is another reason I oppose the bump-back, these folks already get amazing benefits.

This is why the city needs to find a younger replacement willing to put in more than 4 years and have an attitude of building the Fire Department into a better institution. I would implore our part-time mayor to do a national search for someone who has worked with a public ambulance service and have them spearhead that program for us.

Speaking of that, many have asked me if our for-profit ambulance service has been billing rides our SFFR has been giving? We have a pilot program where we are leasing the ambulances for $1 to handle the surge. So when SFFR gives the rides are we reimbursed as taxpayers? It would be nice to hear the answer to that question, but as a guessing man, I bet we are NOT.