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  • Arresting a firefighter...opinions?

    Had a situation about a month ago involving one of our officers directing traffic for a special event. Keeping in mind also we're 'campus cops.' One car disregarded the officer directing traffic and kept on going when he was directed by her to stop on the other side of the intersection on the side of the road. I catch up with him and decide to place him under arrest for Evading Detention with a vehicle (a felony in these parts). This guy is about 6'4" and weighs about 315, pretty muscular. He decides he doesn't think he should be going to jail when a campus cop is attempting to arrest him off campus and resists. We have county wide jurisdiction by the way and this guy turns out to be alumni of the university I work for.

    After discussion, a sergeant tells me to arrest him for Disregarding a Police Officer (a traffic ticket basically) instead of felony evasion. I inform the sergeant that he resisted arrest (a substantial misdemeanor - 1 yr in jail, 4K fine), so he gets booked on that as well.

    Come to find out, he's a firefighter in Colorado also. Got my chops busted by a few people asking why I didn't extend professional courtesy. I don't feel bad about it one bit. Curious about opinions though.

  • #2
    I generally agree with the outcome. In my opinion firefighters deserve some consideration but once he resisted he lost that. Don't have to hammer him with a felony for not obeying an officer directing traffic. That's like running a light.
    Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

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    • #3
      Agree with Bodie...all bets are off once he starts resisting. By the way are we supposed to ask professions, who people know, and what their history is before we lock them up now and days? lol ..... I'm sure had you known he was a firefighter to begin with, it probably wouldn't have gotten to that point....but he took it there...and you reacted to his actions!

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      • #4
        Once he starts resisiting but at what point did you really feel the need to make an arrest and put your hands on him ?
        It apperas that Sgt used good judgement that it was a traffic ticket and not an arrest. No matter how ****ed you get when somebody disregards you when on traffic detail they still probably are only going to get a ticket unless you can prove they intended to run you down etc.

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        • #5
          Sounds like you blew it out of proportion. If someone directing traffic tells me I'm going for a felony if I go past them (not driving recklessly past them) I would make my point known (you might call it resisting if that's what you think a felony is) too. That is total bull$h!t. Your Sergeant is right on the money, that offense constitutes a traffic ticket or ordnance ticket NOT a criminal offense.

          As far as FF's and professional courtesy. Yeah, I do tend to give them a bit, but if they do something stupid, they're going to get it. And yes, the SAME applies to Cops and many other professions.
          Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.

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          • #6
            I cannot for the life of me think of any reason why a firefigher should be treated differently than anyone else. Police officers get professional courtesy; not computer programers, librarians, carpenters, plumbers, or firefighters.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bunnel
              I cannot for the life of me think of any reason why a firefigher should be treated differently than anyone else. Police officers get professional courtesy; not computer programers, librarians, carpenters, plumbers, or firefighters.
              Knock on wood....but let me here you say that later on when you are involved in a serious accident and a firefigher is the only person who can get you out of a vehicle you are trapped in with the jaws of life. Or when you have that one favor to ask them for ....something they would absolutly not come out for...but will do it as a favor for a cop....or come in and get you when you run into a burning house or building to save someone you see on the top floor. Yeah about that?

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              • #8
                "Come to find out, he's a firefighter in Colorado also. Got my chops busted by a few people asking why I didn't extend professional courtesy. I don't feel bad about it one bit. Curious about opinions though."

                Why didn't he?
                What is so hard about helping a cop/firefighter do their job, God we all have enough idiots without screwing with each other?
                Kelly

                We are the thin blue line
                between you
                and all the money in the world.

                And no you can't have any.

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                • #9
                  I think the entire concept of professional courtesy goes out the window when he starts resisting. He said he didn't know he was a firefighter until he told him he was under arrest.

                  If the firefighter was resisting, I think the firefighter needs to learn the meaning of professional courtesy.

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                  • #10
                    I suppose I should preface this whole thing with the 'you're a campus cop and I don't have to do what you tell me to do' attitude this guy gave the first officer and myself the entire time. I nearly had to arrest his wife for interference because she claimed we had no jurisdiction off campus. Yet both attended the same university and the law was the same then as well.

                    So, from what I gathered....it is split down the middle. What happened was, the officer told the southbound traffic to stop so the opposing sides go when this vehicle attempts to proceed through the intersection, when he was told to stop, nearly causing an accident. He stated since he had the green light he had the right of way and she was a campus cop who did not have any right to tell him what to do. She then told him to pull through the intersection and stop on the side of the road so she could further speak to him about it (i.e. conduct a traffic stop). She did have another officer there with her for assistance with the traffic. He then told her that he didn't have to stop for her at all because, again, she was a campus cop. He then proceeded through the intersection and into a nearby hotel parking lot.

                    I don't know about anyone else, but I would say either statute would fit...disregarding or evading. Since he was in a vehicle at the time, the evading charge would be aggravated to a felony. Alas, I was also going off the information I received from another officer. Apparantly, when the sergeant showed up (her direct supervisor), she told him a little more information. I had already hooked him up.

                    When I told him he was under arrest, he told me he didn't do anything wrong. I told him again to place his hands behind his back that he was under arrest. He said, "No, I didn't do anything wrong." I then grabbed his wrist and he started pulling away. It took myself and another officer pushing him down and making him put his hands behind his back in order to place him into handcuffs. He was trying to pull away from us the entire time while stating he was not under arrest. Once he realized how far our jurisdiction goes, he was pretty ****ed at himself. His wife wasn't too happy with him either once she was also educated.

                    Given the info I had, felony evasion seemed like the best charge. After a little more in depth info...disregarding does seem like the better charge. He would have gone to jail either way. Stupid thing was, he would have only had to pay a fine and been done with it had he done what he was told to do. Alas, he's facing a charge that will take some time now.
                    Last edited by dentndude2; 06-25-2005, 11:57 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Sounds like a good pinch to me...although felony status is quite rough for that charge. I extend pc to ff's, but in this case I too probably would have done what needed to be done with the information given, even if I knew he was a ff.

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                      • #12
                        "Stupid thing was, he would have only had to pay a fine and been done with it had he done what he was told to do."

                        If he did what he was supposed to he would have stopped for 2 minutes then gone on his way.

                        Kelly

                        We are the thin blue line
                        between you
                        and all the money in the world.

                        And no you can't have any.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If an good IA investigation were made I think the arresting officers in this case might have received if not a couple of days off but the least a letter to file. There was no need for an arrest here and no need to take into custody anybody over a failure to comply ticket.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bodie
                            If an good IA investigation were made I think the arresting officers in this case might have received if not a couple of days off but the least a letter to file. There was no need for an arrest here and no need to take into custody anybody over a failure to comply ticket.
                            Not sure how it works in OH....but here in TX, we can arrest folks for even a traffic ticket (except for speeding and open container of alcohol). They go to the municipal jail, have the fine set, and are released upon paying the fine. Happens all the time with many agencies around here, esp with those who have no DL and no insurance (which are a lot of folks in these parts).

                            Had we beat the hell out of this guy, I might see your point but co'mon! We utilized the minimal amount of force, this guy didn't obey our orders from the get go, and you think we deserve a letter in our file? That's a bit much, don't you think? My agency tends to nit pick us to death over the smallest of things and I actually received no criticism of this one from the admins. It was from the jailers and other lateral officers I got the raised eyebrows from. Your point of view is....interesting to say the least.

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                            • #15
                              Sounds like he talked his way right in to a set of cuffs and you didn't know he was a firefighter until after the fact...I have no problem with extending courtesy to other public safety folks...but this guy obviously needs to learn respect and display some common sense...the officer working traffic is out there for a reason and it wasn't to just look pretty....As far as the whole "Your just a campus cop" mentality...well people really need to get their heads out of their asses and realize that although some of our day to day duties differ those cuffs do go on the same way...always amazes me how their whole attitude changes after they get hooked up and they begin to realize that they're really going to jail.
                              "Massachusetts it's NOT All here!!!!"

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