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I am a fireman’s daughter, niece, cousin, and friend, with friends in law enforcement as well. I write this with the greatest personal respect and awe for these people that hold my safety and the safety of my family and community as their highest priority every single day. They are all heroes.

Being a firefighter or a police officer are professional callings that are not for everyone. They are in the category of “it’s in the blood” professions. Each of these professions requires an individual with the deepest of dedication to the safety of citizens and community.

These two professions are not interchangeable, but they are complementary to each other. When each is allowed to perform their duties at the highest level of skill intended, through their respective education and training, they succeed at their ultimate quest of safety in the community.

When each profession’s specific areas of expertise are clearly outlined and kept separate, training and education within each department has the potential of reaching the highest expertise level by becoming extensively situation specific. This in turn builds community confidence in personal safety levels by removing the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none stigma.

Keeping the departments separate allows for clarity on the job and in the community as to which team of heroes is needed to be called upon when a safety crisis occurs.

It assures the team with the highest level of expertise for the unique situation is dispatched to manage the lead responsibilities of tending to the most effective safety solution, in the shortest time frame, with the other department, performing backup for its “brother department” as necessary within the given

crisis.

Our Cedar Falls city leaders are attempting to drastically strip down the level of knowledge and expertise our citizens have access to in any given safety crisis. They either do not understand or are willfully ignoring the importance of our community having individuals who choose and have trained to “follow their calling” of specifically becoming a firefighter or a police officer.

Instead, they are devaluing the experience, education, training and skill level of our firefighters. They are systematically disassembling our professional fire department while placing our police officers in the precariously dangerous position of “part-time” firefighter, while still requiring they maintain their professional level of expertise as police officers.

Because of our city leadership, our fire department has been extensively weakened with the loss of several highly trained career firefighters, and our police officer’s lives are being unnecessarily placed in danger by being required to absorb the duties of a position within a highly dangerous profession they were not “called to” for the bribe of extra money.

Their extra income does not make our community safer.

Please do not let the Cedar Falls city leadership succeed in their quest. Get out and vote this November. Your vote is your voice.

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Leah Nordman of Cedar Falls is a married mother and employed at Standard Golf Co. as art director.

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