The Non-Political Fire Department
An example—one of many, fortunately—as to what efficiency the fire department completely divorced from politics can attain is cited in this week’s issue on page 59. The article, which is on the fire department of Detroit, Mich., goes quite fully into the activities of the various branches of the department, and gives a very clear and concise idea of the perfection this fire fighting division of the Michigan city has reached. In every branch of the department there is to be found the striving after perfection and the care as regards the up-keep of apparatus and appliances that is so necessary to the successful modern fire department. The discipline of the department, also, shows that its heads are in complete control and this is probably one of the greatest reasons for the height of perfection to which it has reached.
The inference is very natural that, as the Detroit department is ruled by a non-partisan body and is divorced entirely from politics, the present excellence of its efficiency is due very largely to that fact. The fire department which is cursed with a political government of its affairs, whose chief is handicapped by the necessity to consider the views and wishes of the powers-that-be in making appointments, disciplining his men and other matters vital to the interest of the fire department, is headed toward demoralization and inefficiency. This drag on the chief and his men, no matter how conscientious and aspiring he and his department may be, is bound to result in holding him and it back from attaining the height of perfection which is naturally aimed at.
Politics should be entirely removed from the administration of the fire department and its chief should be left entirely unhampered by any such influence.