At a time of municipal budget crises, more cities are eyeing Sunnyvale's model of cross-training all sworn personnel in police, fire and emergency medical services. At least 130 now employ some form of public safety consolidation. Just in the last six months, Sunnyvale has been contacted by half a dozen entities that are looking into the idea, including Fairbanks, Alaska, two Southern California communities and a UC campus.
Since 1950, patrol officers here have been carrying fire gear and first aid kits in their black-and-whites, often arriving first at medical emergencies. Because assignments rotate, it's not unusual for fire crews to include a former homicide detective or crime scene specialist who can detect suspicious circumstances or begin processing evidence.
Read more in the LA Times.