As Peoria, Arizona, deals with a $7.5-million budget shortfall, the city's fire department will start using video conferencing technology as part of an overall cost-cutting plan, the Arizona Republic reports.
The most significant aspect of the plan is to reduce the costs of overtime and training practices, the paper says. Starting as soon as possible, the department will install video conferencing equipment at all of the city's fire stations and at the department's administration building.
The increased capability will allow officials and department administrators to give training sessions and briefings remotely, cutting down on overtime as well as overnight travel costs. Firefighters will also be able to give face-to-face updates to administrators when the need arises.
The change, along with cutbacks in printing and promotional supplies, will help the city save nearly $200,000.
The continued growth of video conferencing technology may also make an impact in how police departments operate nationwide. According to the website The Crime Report, Bernard Melekian, a justice department official and former police chief, has said that in the future, police may take more reports via video conferencing instead of automatically dispatching a police car.