Your Views: Enhancing public safety

Your Views: Enhancing public safety
(Photo/IAFF Local 2141)

To the editor:

Thank you for your story, “City Council reviews collective bargaining ordinance” in the Feb. 11 Alexandria Times. While your story was intended to introduce the community to the topic of collective bargaining, a number of terms need to be clarified so the taxpayers of the City of Alexandria understand the complete process the city council is discussing.

For professional firefighters and paramedics, collective bargaining is about enhancing public safety by providing us a real voice on the best ways to meet the needs of residents in crisis. When you have an emergency and dial 911, you count on the City of Alexandria to have enough firefighters and paramedics, armed with the right tools and equipment, to show up quickly and take care of your family, business and property. Collective bargaining helps ensure that your crisis is met by professionals more swiftly and effectively.

Today, many public safety decisions in our city are made by bureaucrats who have never answered a 911 call, put out a fire or dealt with a medical crisis. They have little to no understanding of what it takes to save lives and property. Our real goal is collaborative bargaining that goes beyond discussions about wages and benefits and addresses the ways to better serve our neighborhoods.

Collective bargaining provides firefighters and paramedics with a greater voice on the direction of public safety and that will improve the quality of life for everyone who lives, works or visits here.

-Josh Turner, president, Alexandria Fire Fighters Inc. IAFF Local 2141