POLICE Magazine

SEP 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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12 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2017 U nlike most jobs that are defined by a limited set of tasks and conditions, law enforcement officers serve in a mul- tifunction and diverse capacity that is not easily covered by a few entries in an HR book. By the nature and demands of the job, law enforcement officers often find themselves crossing over into other fields. One such field is emergency medical or fire services, which is the primary realm of fire rescue. Because there can only be one tip of the spear, prob- lems arise when both agencies are on scene trying to accom- plish their individual objectives. Problems arise when there is little to no consideration for each other. It is possible for law enforcement and fire rescue to accomplish all tasks, in- dividual and crossover, but only if they work together. WHY CONFLICTS OCCUR Let's face it, both professions are full of people with Type A, get-it-done personalities. ey are usually at their best in dangerous environments. Each group takes charge and gets things done, regardless of whose toes they must step on. ough this attribute is commendable, it is not without inherent pitfalls. When both police and fire rescue are on scene, whose mission has priority? And when this comes up, who decides when and where? ere are obvious individual objectives that are clearly defined. For example, law enforcement secures the scene while fire rescue fights a fire. It sounds easy enough, until you suspect an arson-homicide, and now it's a crime scene. You now have crossover objectives, because the crime scene must be protected and preserved. Accomplishing your ob- jective is easier said than done when you're trying to stop a firefighter who is using an axe, stomping around in full gear, and hitting the place with thousands of gallons of water. It's a recipe that guarantees a conflict unless these issues are worked out ahead of time or can be resolved by working together while on scene. For example, there are times when a road needs to be blocked by fire rescue emergency vehi- cles. However, there also comes a time when blocking the road becomes secondary. e rub comes from determining who gets to decide who opens the roadway. You can't think in terms of "my scene," but "our scene." Two quick examples and some thoughts on how to deal with them come to mind: parking and crime scenes. PARKING CONCERNS One of the biggest law enforcement con- cerns with fire rescue is where they park their vehicles. Fire rescue looks at it from the standpoint that they are blocking traf- fic to keep their personnel safe. ey also want to get close enough to use their gear. However good intentioned they are, there is always an element of "we park here be- cause we can" mixed-in. Take a car crash for example. e pri- mary role of fire rescue is to provide emer- gency medical care, extract victims when necessary, and deal with any fire or haz- ardous material spills. Law enforcement Be careful where you park your vehicle when fire rescue personnel are on scene. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES HOW TO WORK WITH FIRE RESCUE It's important to communicate with firefighters and rescue personnel and not get in each other's way. How To... AMAURY MURGADO

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