Los Angeles Fire Chief Defends Department

Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings defended his department in front of the City Council against allegations that he had no plan to improve fire service, reports My Fox LA.

Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Mitchell Englander, furious over what they said was the department’s failure to produce a strategic plan requested six months ago, asked Cummings to report to the council with a way forward to improve response times to fires and emergencies.

The appearance was the latest chapter in a tangle between the council and the department dating back to March, when LAFD officials admitted reporting response-time data that inflated the department’s success in meeting national response goals. Subsequent reports and an audit by the city controller found significant flaws in the way LAFD officials analyzed and reported response times.

Cummings told the council he moved to improve the department’s data collection and analysis of response times and issued a request for $50 million in the next budget to reopen a shuttered training academy, pay civilian data experts and staff more ambulances.

“The simple answer is money. If you give us money, we’ll have more technology, we’ll have more civilian support staff, we’ll have more resources in the field,” Cummings said. “We’re giving you the best fire service we can provide, given the resources that this council has provided for us.”

Cummings agreed to report back to the City Council in 60 days with a one-to three- to five-year restoration plan for the department as requested today by the council. The fire chief’s statements drew a range of reactions from council members.

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