History of Public Safety
In 1975, Escanaba embarked on developing a fully integrated public safety operation where each officer was cross-trained in police and fire work. The police and fire departments were combined to create one public safety department headed by a Public Safety Director.
A great deal of work was done with the cooperation of fire and police employees to make this concept work. Mr. Gil Truax, who had retired from the Detroit Police Department, became the Public Safety Director and was charged with the responsibility of developing the newly formed department.
Police and fire personnel were offered the option of receiving cross-training or remaining with their original area of responsibility. Those who took the dual training were offered incentive pay referred to as "public safety pay". Most officers opted for the cross-training and served as Public Safety Officers, or PSOs.
All of these original officers have since been retired after having served the residents of Escanaba for twenty-five to more than thirty years.
Now all new sworn members of the department are highly trained in both police and fire fighting.