Cities start to approve mutual aid training agreement

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published February 12, 2021

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GROSSE POINTES/HARPER WOODS — Grosse Pointe City’s new public safety building — which opened Aug. 29 — features new training areas and equipment, including a fire training tower and the VirTra computerized simulator where officers can work on de-escalation and other skills.

And while the facility belongs to the City, the City is inviting its mutual aid partners — the other four Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods — to take advantage of training opportunities available in its new building.

The Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously at a meeting by Zoom Jan. 11 in favor of the agreement.

“It’s just the latest example of intergovernmental agreements that (have been) a landmark of (Public Safety Director Stephen) Poloni’s career,” Grosse Pointe City Manager Pete Dame said. “We’re very pleased by the plan he’s going to present because it … shows the ability to enhance our training with all of our (mutual aid) partners.”

The agreement, which was reviewed by Grosse Pointe City’s attorney, was drafted shortly before Poloni retired in late January to become Grosse Pointe Shores’ new city manager.

Poloni said the City and its mutual aid partners “plan on having increased training” because of the City’s new facility.

During a meeting Jan. 19 by Zoom, the Grosse Pointe Shores City Council voted unanimously in approval of the agreement, which Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte said he “highly recommended.”

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for our officers, both for fire training and firearms training,” Schulte said.

According to terms of the agreement, participants agree to cover “incidental costs related to operate” the tower, such as the solution used to produce smoke and replacement costs for anything — such as glass — that’s broken during training, as well as some costs associated with the VirTra training system. As part of the latter, after the first 60 months of use, the VirTra computer system will need to be upgraded at a cost of $10,000; the cities would share this cost equally.

“The main purpose of (the agreement) is to recoup some costs as we (begin) training as a group, plus provide some liability coverage,” Poloni said.

At press time, the Grosse Pointe Park City Council was slated to approve the training agreement as part of its consent agenda during a meeting by Zoom Feb. 8. The Grosse Pointe Woods City Council unanimously approved the agreement at a meeting via Zoom Feb. 1. Harper Woods acting City Manager John Szymanski said by email that they were still in discussions and hadn’t made a final determination yet, so the agreement hadn’t been scheduled for a council vote as of press time. The Grosse Pointe Farms City Council hadn’t placed it on a meeting agenda as of press time, but Farms City Manager Shane Reeside said he anticipated the council would approve it.

“We’re supportive of cooperative efforts,” Reeside said. “The more we can train together with our mutual aid partners, the stronger we will be.”

Staff Writers Brendan Losinski and Maria Allard contributed to this report.