By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Pomona dissolved its own fire department in the 1990s and county firefighters now protect the city. International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1014 President Dave Gillotte raised eyebrows when he posted a message on the union local's Web site demanding that any cuts in the county fire services budget for Pomona "must be tied proportionally" to cuts in the city's police budget.
"Why would it be any of his interest as to what type of law enforcement services are provided in Pomona?" asks officer Glenn Stires, a Pomona native and 21-year street veteran. "It really is apples and oranges."
Stires, speaking as a member of the police union, sees Baca's boasting about bringing to Pomona big savings and big increases in deputies on the streets as similar to a predatory mortgage broker during the housing bubble. "They know the cost is going to jump up in the following years, but they disguise it," he says. "They just want the buyer to sign."
But Stires says it's the City Council that's left officers feeling stabbed in the back.
"We clearly see the loyalties of the City Council," says Stires. "And it's not with lifelong city employees or city residents. It's not with a department whose officers have given mind, body and, in one officer's case, soul to the city. We've been betrayed."
Yet Gillotte says the firefighters' union will fight hard against efforts by police and community groups who want the city to spend less on county fire services in order to spare the city police force from additional cuts.
"If the city of Pomona wants to keep Pomona P.D. — and their [union] obviously is supporting that, to keep a small, very expensive police department — as the locally controlled police department, then that's fine. That's up to the citizens and elected officials," Gillotte says. "But we will not allow money to be taken out of the fire end of things, [to satisfy demands] that 'if only fire will give, we could keep our P.D.' "
Meanwhile, signs that the Pomona City Council is turning against its police force aren't subtle.
Last week no sitting council member was among the 180 people who gathered to honor seven retiring Pomona cops who share about 200 years of service between them. Former City Councilman George Hunter joked to the crowd that the county fire department must have had an event the same night.
Dark humor and rueful chuckles aside, perhaps the last laugh has to go to the homeboys of 12th Street, who, on some level, must marvel that the Pomona City Council is toying with the gang's pipe dream of Pomona PD vanishing from the streets.
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