Editorial

Columbus Fire And Police Criticism

Columbus Unions Are Dead Wrong About GPS

Unions first grew in popularity during the Industrial Revolution when business owners worked their employees so hard that those employees needed to band together in order to improve working conditions, wages and overall employee safety. Unions essentially helped level the playing field so employers couldn’t over work employees or put them in a dangerous environment. They made certain that there was a more fair balance between boss and worker. Unfortunately, unions would grow so powerful over time that they would sometimes engage in behavior that was counter productive to safety and oversight. A perfect example of this is the recent grievance filed by both police and fire unions in Columbus who adamantly are saying they refuse to accept any type of punishment based on data from GPS trackers that will be installed upon city vehicles. The unwarranted complaint by the unions came shortly after the city of Columbus made the decision to equip GPS tracking devices on all marked police and fire automobiles. The people and elected officials of Columbus decided to move forward with a new GPS fleet management plan after research showed in concrete detail that GPS could improve maintenance, fuel efficiency, and route selection, all while preventing misconduct or personal use of city owned vehicles. In fact, cities all over the country are now using GPS trackers to not only improve operations but also to dramatically reduce unnecessary costs associated with misuse of vehicles. Both the police and fire unions need to respect the decision made by city officials voted by the public. Clearly, the use of GPS trackers to monitor city vehicles is a measure designed to slash operating costs while improving efficiency. These type of management plans are used every single day in the private sector as businesses try to maximize fleet and employee efficiency. However, if those employees whined and complained they would likely be fired. Instead, Columbus police and fire unions want to hold the city hostage and make their own rules. It’s simply a disgusting move, especially in tough economic times when reducing costs should be top priority. Select city automobiles in Columbus, including fire department vehicles and police cruisers, have had GPS trackers installed upon them for more than a few years. However, the new GPS tracking devices proposed to be used on all Columbus fire and police automobiles will offer even more sophisticated hardware and monitoring that will record driver speeds, aggressive driving behaviors, vehicle idling, route selection and more all in real-time! Although the unions are stating they want to negotiate punishments for possible violations related to data acquired from GPS trackers, the grievances were filed on the heels of city officials investigating numerous firefighters documented using city vehicles in non-emergency situations at rates of speed over 100mph. Currently, fire union contracts with the city of Columbus won’t expire until the start of the 4th quarter in 2014. Police contracts will follow expiration two months later. Columbus plans on installing GPS trackers on roughly 2,000 city vehicles, which is a little less than 50% of city vehicles. As the fleet tracking plan is evaluated and more funds become available it is only a matter of time before all city motor vehicles are equipped with tracking devices.

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