"Public safety involves more than the police."
So says John Caufield, who became Chief of the Rochester Fire Department in September. And to hear Caufield say it, being a firefighter should involve more than dousing flames and rescuing people.
Caufield, 46, is a fourth generation firefighter, who also believes that firefighters can help save troubled inner city neighborhoods by engaging residents, building their trust, and being good neighbors.
"The firehouse may not be their permanent address," Caulfield said, speaking of the men and women under his charge, "But while they are living there for sometimes four or five consecutive days, it is very much their community and they must become part of the fabric of that community."
In neighborhoods where a number of residents are distrustful of police, Caufield hopes they might come to trust firefighters enough to provide information they might ordinarily be unwilling to share with law enforcement.
"We don't want to be the police," Caulfield said. "But study after study shows that in the minds of the public firefighters are the most trusted of public servants."
To hear more about Chief Caufield's vision, and about a tragic incident which occurred when he was a rookie (and which still drives him to this day), click on the video icon to watch our entire story.