Firefighter Jacob Gregoire was arrested by a police officer for telling him he would not stop helping crash victims. To know that someone who is certified in helping other people who are hurt or in danger and yet they are stopped by someone whose job is to protect and serve the people, is very disturbing. Gregoire had responded on Tuesday on the 805 freeway in California to an accident, where a car had been overturned and another car had fallen off into an embankment.
The firefighter had parked the fire truck in front of the accident where the crash had occurred providing protection to the victims as they were being treated and eventually transported into the ambulance. Parking in front of an accident was consistent to the standard protocol and training. A California Highway Patrol officer had arrived and noticed where the truck was parked.
The officer then asked him to move the truck and argued with the firefighter for a few minutes. The firefighter had refused to move the truck and returned to helping the victims. The officer at that moment handcuffed him and placed the firefighter under temporary arrest, detaining him in a squad car for as long as a half an hour, until supervisors of the law enforcement agency and the fire department had arrived at the scene.
Gregoire had explained how he thought it was unbelievable that the police could have treated him like that even though he was only trying to do was his duty helping the people in need of medical attention. To many this situation would be shocking. Why would the police officer be worried about the location of the parked truck and not so focused on the situation concerning the accident? Fire Chief Dave Hanneman explained that detaining someone in the middle of an accident like this was ridiculous. He went on to say that the detainment was not providing good customer service or good public service in which both of the agencies were there to do.
The CHP refused to give out the name of the officer that had been involved in the incident or even say if he had been reprimanded in any way. Logically this would be so that the officer could not receive any type of back lash from the people because it is possible that many would not be happy with what he had done.
The arguments could have come about because of a misunderstanding between the police officer and the firefighter, but why would this officer go as far as to arrest him just for not moving the fire truck? That certainly was not the sole purpose of the police officer being at that location. The police officer was to respond to the accident and help with the situation.
Even if the truck should not have been there, timing is critical when there is an accident and people’s lives are at stake. Although the truck being parked in front of the accident was part of the safety protocol and it was not causing chaotic traffic jams, the arguing about the truck’s location could have waited until the victims were treated and their safety was assured. It could be because some police are not thinking about their duty to protect and to serve the people but about whether or not someone is going to obey their orders.
Editorial by Brittany Varner-Miller