Police arrest paramedic on an emergency run

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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I don't know what to think of this one yet, but apparently the paramedic failed to yield to the police car, so he was pulled over. A woman was in the back of the ambulance.

The paramedic claimed that he couldn't pull over safely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dUDvNfLE4E
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
cristo
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What a stupid situation! Shouldn't an ambulance have right of way over a police car if in an emergency situation, anyway?
 
  • #3
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What a stupid situation! Shouldn't an ambulance have right of way over a police car if in an emergency situation, anyway?
I also believe so which makes me wonder if this was really the cause.

In the video all I could see were white police officers and a black man :rofl:.
 
  • #4
Moonbear
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The police officer is completely in the wrong if they interfere with an ambulance that has sirens and lights flashing. There ARE laws for ambulance drivers for such things as how far over the speed limit they really are allowed to go, but since the police officer would not know what condition the patient is in and whether stopping would interfere with that patient's survival, they should just follow the ambulance to the hospital and address the issue after the patient is under the care of hospital staff.
 
  • #5
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, but since the police officer would not know what condition the patient is in and whether stopping would interfere with that patient's survival,
All that video tells is that the driver is outside the ambulance arguing with the policemen. It doesn't tell anything else.

But I agree that from the information provided in the OP, officers are wrong.
 
  • #6
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Uh oh, he was DWB.
 
  • #7
berkeman
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There is a long discussion thread about this over at an EMS forum that I frequent:

http://www.emtlife.com/showthread.php?t=12921

Some of the replies are overly-strident, but this one stands out for me:

I definitely stop long enough to find out the problem and if it is a traffic issue, I ask for it to be deferred until after the transport is over. There have been occasions where we have been stopped for something wrong with the truck such as a loose dual or someone left equipment unsecured. For that I am very greatful.

If the driver is doing something very stupid, for the safety of the patient it might be wise to stop that truck to tell the driver to get control of himself or see if that driver is impaired. BTW, how many drivers of ambulances have been found to be impaired that are behind the wheel? At least the ones we know about because they made the EMS news wire? That is sad. It is a LEO's job to keep everyone safe and EMS is not above the law. Of course when it is minor, the problem should wait until after the transport is finished. This is actually the way it is handled most often.

Do you know how much stupid stuff people driving ambulances do? When I was supervising I spent more time talking to drivers and PD about tickets for stuff I was embarrassed that someone the company had given the responsibility of their truck and lives of the patient and crew would risk all of them usually to show off or just lack of better sense.

So no, PD intervening can be very necessary at times.
It looks like mistakes were made on both sides in this incident. Hopefull the AARs (after action reports) will address them.
 
  • #8
Moonbear
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Do the PD and EMS operate on shared radio channels? You'd think that an issue with an ambulance responding to a call could be communicated through the radio to the driver or for the driver to communicate back with the police that they acknowledged the car but couldn't stop if they couldn't. Basically, why pull each other over to sort out a problem if it can wait, and if it can't wait, why not get that through to the driver via radio so they know there's a good reason to yield?
 
  • #9
berkeman
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Do the PD and EMS operate on shared radio channels? You'd think that an issue with an ambulance responding to a call could be communicated through the radio to the driver or for the driver to communicate back with the police that they acknowledged the car but couldn't stop if they couldn't. Basically, why pull each other over to sort out a problem if it can wait, and if it can't wait, why not get that through to the driver via radio so they know there's a good reason to yield?
It depends on the services. In most areas that I'm familiar with (and that we discuss in that EMS web forum), there is no direct radio contact. There would generally be dispatch-to-dispatch phone contact involved in closing the loop.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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The other issue is whether excessive force was used. Was it really necessary to grab him by the throat?
 
  • #11
mgb_phys
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Not a rare occurrence apparently
http://www.kmov.com/video/topvideo-index.html?nvid=217818 [Broken]

Although in court a fireman trumps police !
 
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  • #12
berkeman
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The other issue is whether excessive force was used. Was it really necessary to grab him by the throat?
It's a standard move in many PD protocols for inividuals who violently resist arrest. So the resisting part is what lead to that (unfortunately).

Here's another good post from that EMS thread:

Both parties were in the wrong no one can refute that. I have been pulled over by Border Patrol while running a code. We picked the patient up near the fence line and apparently set off their sensors there, originally the BP agent pulled up behind us L&S and I told my driver to throw on his 4-ways (to let him know we acknowledged his presence and intent) and continue code 3 and we'd deal with it once we got to the hospital but the BP agent had other things in mind as he passed us and pulled in his vehicle in front of ours.

So naturally we stopped while I was still working the code my driver got out to see what the BP agent wanted and to inform him we were working a code from what my driver told me he insisted that we open the back of the truck and let him search it for illegal immigrants my driver then informed him it would be a violation of HIPAA and he would be interfering with patient care and the BP agent still refused us passage the only reason why we got to him to wait until we got to the hospital on the matter was because a TX state trooper happen to drive up and force the BP agent to wait.

Upon getting to the hospital we took the patient into the ED after the BP agent tried to question him (he was unconscious) Then the agent tried to arrest us for not halting in a timely manner or something like that it eventually blew away we never got arrested (thanks to the state trooper who helped us out) but that was just a giant Charlie-foxtrot.

My service filed a formal complaint against that agent never found out what happened to him though if anything. Basically moral of the story is do what your told by LEOs if your in the right no harm will come of you. If that trooper didn't drive past we would've had the agent call his supervisor to come down...all in all it was a lengthy process that could've resulted in the pt's death but thankfully it didn't.
So LEO can be wrong, but you really need to work within the system to get your patient (pt) to the hospital emergency department (ED) as soon as possible. In the incident in this thread, the pt apparently just had mild heat exhaustion and was treated and released. Can you imagine if you're working a code (cariac arrest) like the guys in the quoted incident above?!
 
  • #13
Moonbear
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I've heard a similar story from a friend of a friend who is an EMT. He was driving with a patient that had coded and couldn't be stabilized in the field, so he was just trying to get the patient to the hospital as fast as possible...exceeding the speed limit even for running with lights and sirens. A cop tried to pull him over, and he just kept going. When they got to the hospital, similar deal, the cop wanted to arrest him for evasion...except he did make it to the hospital first. Cop didn't like getting a lecture from him about the unstable patient. He said he thinks the cop liked the lecture from the judge even less when it was thrown out of court. That was the first time I heard about any such thing, and knowing the town it had happened in, I just thought, yeah, figures, they've got some bored pr***s of cops there (I usually have great respect for police, but once in a while, there's a town where they seem to play by different rules).

It sounds like it's more common than I imagined. I thought it was really just an isolated incident of an idiot cop who didn't know to wait to handle the problem at the hospital.

There really ought to be a procedure for handling such things that puts the patient first. Whether it involves a shared frequency for radio communication (this seems like a general issue for emergency response not to be able to directly communicate between departments), or going through a dispatcher and involving a supervisor as part of protocol, or just always saying that traffic stops take a back burner to patient care and all incidents with ambulances should be handled at the ER, not en route, unless there is a danger to the ambulance and/or patient if the ambulance is not stopped immediately (and again, convey this through the dispatchers if necessary).
 
  • #14
Whether it involves a shared frequency for radio communication (this seems like a general issue for emergency response not to be able to directly communicate between departments), or going through a dispatcher and involving a supervisor as part of protocol,
They are probably on a trunk radio system sharing the same channels and towers but the chatter is seperated so each can only hear the transmissions meant for them. Each radio has some sort of unique identifier that makes sure it is transmitted to the proper receivers. In a smaller town they may do it differently but in any big city neither one is going to want to be getting walked on by the other while trying to transmit or receive. Going through dispatch is best.
 
  • #15
berkeman
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They are probably on a trunk radio system sharing the same channels and towers but the chatter is seperated so each can only hear the transmissions meant for them. Each radio has some sort of unique identifier that makes sure it is transmitted to the proper receivers. In a smaller town they may do it differently but in any big city neither one is going to want to be getting walked on by the other while trying to transmit or receive. Going through dispatch is best.
No, not in general. PD and Fire are on trunked radio systems, but EMS/Ambulance agencies are not. EMS usually uses commercial radio frequencies that are Simplex and not trunked, although they may use repeaters sometimes. Also, the trunked PD and Fire channels are increasingly encrypted with proprietary codes (for obvious reasons), so EMS' only link is via our dispatchers, or worst case, we use our cell phones to call into the local PD/Fire dispatchers and request link-up that way.
 
  • #16
drankin
Not a rare occurrence apparently
http://www.kmov.com/video/topvideo-index.html?nvid=217818 [Broken]

Although in court a fireman trumps police !
Very true, my father is a retired fireman now but actually got arrested while servicing a fire hydrant once upon a time because a rookie cop didn't like where he was parked! LOL

That rookie got reamed.
 
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  • #17
JasonRox
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Oh man, the police nightmares in the US.

Power hungry people.

Note: Sure it happens in Canada too. Sometimes. Mostly the RCMP. Not local police.
 
  • #18
JasonRox
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Very true, my father is a retired fireman now but actually got arrested while servicing a fire hydrant once upon a time because a rookie cop didn't like where he was parked! LOL

That rookie got reamed.
I would make sure the rookie gets fired.

Any signs of power trippers in the police force and they should be fired.
 
  • #19
No, not in general. PD and Fire are on trunked radio systems, but EMS/Ambulance agencies are not. EMS usually uses commercial radio frequencies that are Simplex and not trunked, although they may use repeaters sometimes. Also, the trunked PD and Fire channels are increasingly encrypted with proprietary codes (for obvious reasons), so EMS' only link is via our dispatchers, or worst case, we use our cell phones to call into the local PD/Fire dispatchers and request link-up that way.
That's interesting. I'd have assumed they would use the same emergency bands instead of commercial. But I guess the ambulances that are not FD are commercial aren't they.
 
  • #20
drankin
That's interesting. I'd have assumed they would use the same emergency bands instead of commercial. But I guess the ambulances that are not FD are commercial aren't they.
I'm not sure but when I used to be a Airborne Express (1998) delivery guy I would deliver to this ambulance garage a lot and it wasn't a city outfit. More like a contracted business. I would assume that they have their own radio channels to their home base that has it's coms with the local 911 office. It wouldn't make much sense for an ambulance driver to be on coms with the police department that would have a lot of traffic not associated with a paramedics job.
 
  • #21
Astronuc
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No, not in general. PD and Fire are on trunked radio systems, but EMS/Ambulance agencies are not. EMS usually uses commercial radio frequencies that are Simplex and not trunked, although they may use repeaters sometimes. Also, the trunked PD and Fire channels are increasingly encrypted with proprietary codes (for obvious reasons), so EMS' only link is via our dispatchers, or worst case, we use our cell phones to call into the local PD/Fire dispatchers and request link-up that way.
Locally the EMS is part of the fire department, but we also have private ambulance services. I believe the police and fire radio communication are somehow linked.

We also have several police (city, town, county (sheriff)) and fire departments (city, district), and somehow they seem to work together.
 
  • #22
Moonbear
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I would make sure the rookie gets fired.

Any signs of power trippers in the police force and they should be fired.
I don't think I'd fire a rookie over that, because part of being a rookie is learning to apply common sense to the rule of the law. It certainly is worth a major chewing out as part of the learning process.

That's interesting. I'd have assumed they would use the same emergency bands instead of commercial. But I guess the ambulances that are not FD are commercial aren't they.
It depends on the state and town. In some places, EMS is part of the FD, in others, it's separate. In some, they are paid, in others all volunteer. And, then, yes, there are also places where there are EMS and ambulance services that are private companies that are contracted by the town. It gets really confusing around here, because I see examples of all of these on the roads. We have the only major trauma center for a large, multi-county radius, so I'll regularly see ambulances from other counties on the way to our hospital. That makes it even more confusing, I think, since it's one thing to have communication between the various emergency reponders in a single town or county, and another for an ambulance traveling across counties to have communication with everyone they encounter. Of course, we also have the life flights coming in as well, and there needs to be communication between the life flight and a large range of county EMS, FD, and PD to coordinate services and arrange pick up locations that a helicopter can get to (sometimes this requires an ambulance ride from the scene to an open field to meet a helicopter, and a police unit to make sure the field is cleared of people for the helicopter to land).
 
  • #23
mgb_phys
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They are probably on a trunk radio system sharing the same channels and towers but the chatter is seperated so each can only hear the transmissions meant for them.
There must be some way of broadcasting a short range line-of-sight wideband transmission that warns that a ambulance/firetruck is on an emergency call.
You could then have a detector mounted in each police car, and ultimately every ordinary car, that could flash some sort of red/blue warning LED when an approaching emergency vehicle signals that it is responding to an emergency.
Ultimately these detectors could even be fitted to pedestrians (some sort of hat mounted antennae) so that they could see a flashing warning light when an ambulance was transmitting a warning message.
Hopefully one day we will have the technology to do that - but at the moment the police have no way of knowing that the big red truck with the ladders on top is going to a fire and so they have to stop everyone and check.
 
  • #25
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Two things I couldn't ignore:

  1. We're like trying to tell the guy, 'Dude, my mom is in the back,'" Kenyada Davis said. "My stepdad was like, 'My wife is in the back. Can we do this at the hospital?'
  2. The patient condition was not serious
 

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