Firefighter handcuffed by a police officer in San Diego while he was helping a crash victim
The two departments have since met to discuss the incident in the Californian city
The police and fire departments in a city in San Diego met on Wednesday to discuss an incident which saw a police officer handcuff a fire-fighter who was trying giving first aid to a car crash victim.
36-year-old Chula Vista Fire Department engineer Jacob Gregoire was among the emergency crews responding to a crash when an unnamed police officer cuffed him following a parking dispute.
Officials told CBS news that the fire department was asked to move three fire engines that were blocking a lane at the accident site between Telegraph canyon and East Orange Avenue in the South Bay of the city. While two firefighters complied, Mr Gregoire continued to tend to the crash victims.
Fire officials also said the police officer ordered a fire truck with an on duty paramedic to leave before first aid was finished being administered.
The department’s Fire Chief Dave Hanneman told ABC News that the police officer took Mr Gregoire into custody and put him in the back of a police car when he told the officer he would not be able to move his engine immediately.
Supervisors from both teams were soon called to the scene, and Mr Gregoire, who has worked for the force for over twelve years, was released after around 30 minutes.
No charges were filed against Gregoire, who continued the rest of his shift after being released.
Radio communication released by ABC reveal discussions between the firefighters at the time.
"I did not move our engine so it's still in the initial spot, and we're just continuing with patient care," a firefighter told the dispatcher.
"This is ridiculous. We're in the middle of patient care with patients on the [freeway] and we're trying to protect our scene … and they're putting him in handcuffs at this time and walking him away," he added.
Mr Hanneman said that by cuffing the fire-fighter, the police officer could have potentially made the situation more dangerous.
After the meeting, the forces released a joint statement on Wednesday, which read:
“Both of our agencies have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions. This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal.”
“This morning representatives from both agencies met to discuss the incident to improve communication and ensure the highest level of service is provided to the public.”
It added: “This incident will be a topic of future joint training sessions, in an ongoing effort to work more efficiently together.”
CBS confirmed that one victim involved in the crash was taken to hospital, but there were no reports on the condition of the second driver.
A similar dispute took place in 2010 when a Montecito Battalion Chief in Santa Barbara County was handcuffed when he refused orders from police to move a fire truck blocking lanes of traffic while responding to a crash.
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