Archive for November 1st, 2017

Naperville Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

More than a ton of prescription and over-the-counter drugs — 2,342 pounds to be exact — have been voluntarily dropped off at Naperville police and fire departments collection boxes in the past 12 months.

Drop-off containers sit outside each of Naperville’s 10 fire stations and inside the Naperville Police Department lobby. Any type of drug — from bottles of expired Tylenol to opiate painkillers available only from a doctor — can be disposed of anonymously and safely for recycling.

Not only does the effort keep such drugs out of landfills  and water supplies, if they’re flushed down the toilet, they’re also not available to people who might steal them from a medicine cabinet and use some of them to get high.

Of the total amount of drugs disposed of via municipal collection sites in the last year, 545 pounds were dropped off at the police department — an increase of 83 pounds — and the rest at city fire stations.

The fire department does not monitor the type of drugs that are dropped off, but the department can say it collected 525 pounds of prescription drugs in the first three months of 2017, 399 pounds from April through June and 873 pounds of drugs from July through September.

Police have responded to 56 opioid-related overdoses so far in 2017. Five deaths were attributed to opioids in 2016 and 2017.

The Naperville Police Department launched its Narcan program in 2015, and since then has used the antidote to reverse the effects of overdose or a possible overdose 18 times in DuPage County and five in Will County.

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Mount Prospect Fire Department news

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Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

The Chicago City Council’s most powerful black alderman is demanding changes in state pension laws to remove a major impediment to diversifying the Chicago Fire Department’s overwhelmingly white brass.

Fourteen of the fire department’s 61 exempt-rank jobs — 23 percent — are vacant. The 47 bosses who remain are 78.7 percent white, 12.7 percent black, and 8.5 percent Hispanic.

Fire officials must retire at age 63. But members of the exempt ranks must pay for their own health insurance until they hit 65. They also lose pay perks, including vacation time, overtime and supplemental pay. In addition, the state pension code doesn’t allow exempt fire officers to earn pension benefits based on their current salary. Instead, their pension benefits are based on the lower salary of their most recent union-covered job. All of that can cost as much as $25,000-a-year.

In mid-June, thirty-two members of the Chicago Fire Department’s exempt ranks returned to their career service ranks, but continued to act up in the exempt positions from which they resigned. That made them eligible for overtime, holiday pay, duty availability, Hazmat and other forms of supplemental and specialty pay afforded to members of the rank-and-file.

The fire officials are seeking pension changes, expanded health insurance benefits and pay raises, but have, so far, been unable to convince Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Sources said the mayor discontinued the longstanding practice of boosting the pay of exempt-rank members in response to union contracts that increased pay for the rank-and-file.

The salary and specialty pay of lower-ranking union members meets and, in some cases, exceeds, their commanders. As a result, for example, battalion chiefs are reluctant to accept promotion to deputy district chief because it will cost them so much money.

The mayor’s office has argued that the problem can be solved, only with bill that would allow exempt fire employees to earn a pension based on the pay for their current jobs.

In 1973, a federal class-action lawsuit accused the Chicago Fire Department of discriminatory hiring and promotional practices. At the time, only 4 percent of Chicago’s 5,000 firefighters were black. The lawsuit resulted in a four-year freeze on hiring and promotions and a federal consent decree mandating minority hiring. Between 1977 and 1979, the number of black firefighters increased from 150 to roughly 400.

Under Emanuel, Chicago resolved a bitter legal battle the mayor inherited from former Mayor Richard M. Daley, stemming from the city’s discriminatory handling of a 1995 firefighters entrance exam. The city agreed to hire 111 bypassed African-American firefighters and borrow the $78.4 million needed to compensate nearly 6,000 African-Americans who never got that chance.

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