A photo and video of a firefighter being arrested by the California Highway Patrol has gone absolutely viral, and although the 12-year veteran firefighter has been released without charges, the incident is causing outcry and being hailed as an example of horrendous cooperation between two agencies that should be directly supporting one another.
According to the Inquisitr on Thursday, firefighter Jacob Gregoir from the Chula Vista Fire Department was working an accident scene. A sedan had flipped over a concrete divider on the I-805 between Telegraph Canyon Road and East Orange Avenue.
The unnamed CHP police officer also responded.
Gregoir parked the firetruck behind the ambulance, in the center of the road, in order to provide traffic protection while the EMTs assisted the victims of the crash – something that the Chula Vista fire chief said his crew is trained to do.
The cop wanted to clear one lane to allow traffic to pass, but when he told Gregoir to move, the firefighter, who was still in the middle of checking the overturned vehicle for additional victims, replied that he would have to check in with his captain first.
The overzealous cop was not satisfied with this explanation, and, directly in front of rolling CBS news cameras, placed the firefighter under arrest and sat him down, handcuffed, into the back of his squad car.
“To detain one of our firefighters in the middle of an incident is ridiculous,” Chula Vista Fire Chief Dave Hanneman said. “It doesn’t provide the good customer service, the good public service that both of our agencies are there to do.”
Hanneman said he recognizes that the CHP is interested in getting traffic moving, but not at the expense of the safety of those under his charge.
“I know clearing the freeway is a priority for the CHP. Our number one priority is the safety of our firefighters and patients,” the fire department official said.
Representatives from the CHP and Chula Vista Fire Department met to discuss the details and their inter-agency protocols when responding to an accident. The agencies released the following joint statement to media:
"Last night there was an unfortunate incident at the scene of a traffic collision on I-805, where both our agencies had responded. Both the CHP and the Chula Vista Fire Department share a common goal of protecting the public and providing the highest level of safety to responding emergency personnel, involved parties and other drivers at collision scenes.
“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.”