When I first read this story, I honestly believed it was satire. Sadly, it’s not. What happened was a California highway patrol officer detained a firefighter who was at the scene of an accident treating some of the victims involved – because he wouldn’t move his fire truck.
Can you see now why I might have thought this was satire?
Apparently both the officer and the firefighters responded to the same accident where a car had flipped over the concrete divider on a local highway. And as customary to what I see happen often here in Texas (and I’m sure many other places as well) the firefighter parked the truck behind the ambulance to provide protection for those working at the scene of the accident.
According to the reports, at some point an officer (whose name they’re not releasing) wanted to clear a lane on the highway so he asked the firefighters (the same ones still treating victims of the accident) to move their fire truck. The officer apparently informed the firefighters that if they refused, they would be arrested.
When firefighter Jacob Gregoire said he would first have to check with his captain, that’s apparently when the officer immediately put him in cuffs and detained him in the backseat of his squad car for around half an hour.
The officer might have had a valid reason for wanting to clear the highway, I’m not completely certain. I just find it absolutely absurd that a firefighter who was currently at the scene of an accident helping victims, would be detained by police officers because he didn’t move his fire truck the moment they demanded it.
“To detain one of our firefighters in the middle of an incident is ridiculous,” Chula Vista Fire Chief Dave Hanneman told CBS.
Oh, but this isn’t apparently the only time this has happened. According to this same story, in 2008 an officer was fined $18,000 after he arrested a firefighter for not moving a fire truck at the scene of an accident.
I can’t even wrap my mind around this. At what point does it become logical to try to arrest a firefighter assisting victims at the scene of an accident for failing to move a fire truck? Again, I’m not saying that these officers didn’t have a plausible reason to want the trucks moved, but to actually go to the lengths of arresting an on-duty firefighter is just insane.
Even if you want to ignore the basic “professional courtesy” of not arresting a fellow first responder, what else is going through your mind? I could understand filing a report with the firefighter’s superiors over their refusal to abide by your request, but to actually arrest and detain them is an absolute joke.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t see any situation where his actions of handcuffing a firefighter who was assisting at the scene of an accident were warranted.