PD is on scene – The Crossover

Our old pal Motorcop approached me asking if we could jump the fence from time to time and have a chance to share with the other crowd.  So today he launches “the Crossover” a chance for him to address fire and EMS folk, while I have a chance to talk directly to his law enforcement officer types.

Kind of a digital cross training experiment where we can air our differences and issues in a friendly way.

If you have something you want the law enforcement crowd to know, send the topic to MC and see if he’ll host with you too.

Here he is, the Po-Po a Go-Go, the guy you don’t want to see in your mirror, Mr Motorcop himself!

Greetings, fellow first responders!

I’m your local law enforcer, MotorCop (MC for short), and I’m happy to have the opportunity to chat with you briefly at the world famous HMHQ.  Thanks to my good friend, Happy, for agreeing to The Crossover!  It’s our aim to commandeer one another’s site on a monthly basis.

Prior to jumping into it, let me start by saying I grew up in the Fire Service (Dad retired as a Captain), so I’ve always had a soft spot for you all.  That being said, I’ve got a bone to pick with you:

Now, I’ll be the fist to say, no one likes the images a scene like the above bring to mind.  Unless those happen to be a pair of your kicks, it’s safe to say none of us knows what happened in the above photo; however, it probably wasn’t the aftermath of a good time.

So, what is our collective function when we arrive before the crime scene tape is strewn across the area?  I think we can agree the main job is first to treat the injured and prevent further injury.  After that, our respective jobs diverge and that’s the topic I want to address to you today.

I’m not a medic.  I’m not a doc or a nurse or even a f’n podiatrist.  Consequently, I only know the basics of first aid.  Ready?  Here it is, “Fire’s one the way, pal!  Hold on!”  That statement is quickly followed by, “Who did this?  What happened?”  Of course, I’m rehashing a long standing joke about PD and our ability to render aid, but inside the joke is the key to our differences.  My job is to find the bad guy.  Yours is to save the victim.

Often, our two jobs:jobs that one would think would dovetail nicely:butt heads like two big horn sheep.  We on the blue side of things (sometimes) affectionately refer to you on the red side of things as the Evidence Eradication Team.  Y’all pull up in your pretty red engine with your shiny reflective turnouts looking cool for all the swooning women.  The problem?  You parked the aforementioned engine right over my fuckin’ evidence (be it shell casings, skid marks, etc).  You swoop in, scoop up, and bounce:usually leaving God knows what kind of medical flotsam and jetsam strewn about.

I’ve always hated it when people just bitch for bitching sake.  So, let’s talk about solutions.  Let’s start by saying there is typically a communication breakdown at the scene.  For example, a couple weeks ago, I was first on scene at a fully-involved house fire.  Within a matter of minutes, a veritable army of firefighters arrived.  Instead of me milling about and possibly getting in the way, I found the firefighter with the shiniest helmet and cleanest gear and said, “Hey, Chief, what do you need from us?”  Then, I got the hell out of the way and let you kids do your thing.

Is there any harm in either of us doing that for the other?  If it’s an obvious fire call (medical, fire, etc.) and you just need traffic control, just ask (if I haven’t already).  If it’s an obvious PD call (crime, collision, etc.), before you cruise on up and park next to the wrecked vehicle or injured party, stop and think about where you’re about to park that big ass boat you’re driving.

I’m not asking you to compromise the care an injured party may need:but you guys get paid to work out for crying out loud, you can swing walking an extra couple hundred feet. All I ask is for a little scene integrity.  What if it were your wife, sister, mother, brother, friend that was hurt or worse?  If that person were beyond your help, you’d need us to solve the crime.  It’s hard to accomplish that with tainted and/or destroyed evidence.

All I’m looking for is a little mutual cooperation.  We’ve both got big egos and sometimes that gets in the way of seeing things a little more clearly.    We can keep up the jokes about us eating donuts (which is true:love me some donuts) and you folks getting comfy in your La-Z-Boys (also true:I’ve been in a House a time or two).  But, when it comes to the job, what say we both try to be more mindful about what the other may or may not need from us.

Thanks for your consideration.  It is well appreciated!  Drop me a line at motorcop1@gmail.com or head on over to the blog and say hello!

See you at the next crash:

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45 thoughts on “PD is on scene – The Crossover”

  1. Good read. I always try to have a good relationship with the other emergency workers, EMS, fire, PD. We all have a roll and I love when I’m on scene of a crazy job and we all work well and get along. Such a great feeling!

  2. Good read. I always try to have a good relationship with the other emergency workers, EMS, fire, PD. We all have a roll and I love when I'm on scene of a crazy job and we all work well and get along. Such a great feeling!

  3. Dear HM and MC,
    This cross-posting you’re doing is full genius. Get these questions out there and in the world.

    As I wrote over at MC’s

    I’m cheering from the sidelines, for both your professions!
    This is great! THank you.

    Ann T.

  4. Law enforcement version of the ABCs = “Ambulance be Comin’!”

    And I’ll have you know that EMT stands for Evidence Mangling Troglodyte!

    You’ll be happy to know, MC, that on my last two murder scenes, I kept my partner outside the tape, walked in, ran my strip and confirmed absence of vital signs, and walked right back out, in my own friggin’ footsteps. Seriously. Didn’t move the body, didn’t touch anything but the body, and only where I absolutely had to.

    I actually have a LEO friend come lecture my EMT classes on crime scene preservation. Some of his lessons have apparently sunk in. ;)

      1. No, not obviously dead people. If the victim is in a workable rhythm (anything other than asystole or slow PEA), we work it. Otherwise, the strip is a formality.

        The last time (and this was 15 years ago) I was asked to run a strip on an obviouslydead patient, I refused. When I did, the local fire chief asked me, “Okay, smartass, how do you know he’s dead?”

        I replied, “Well, maybe it’s the greenish discoloration and the bloating. It might be the awful stench and the cloud of blowflies. But I’m gonna go with the fact that there are ants marching in his left nostril and out his right nostril, and he doesn’t even react. I’m pretty sure he’s a goner.”

        Cops laughed their butts off, and the fire chief still hates my guts.

        1. the the best description of obviously dead i’ve ever heard. my medic instructor told me that years ago they used to take corpses to the medical examiner’s office and they had an old hobo who got hit by a train but he had a pacemaker which was still firing and they took him in without a head a missing a leg also with the monitor still on his body to freak out the
          worker at the coroner’s office.

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  6. Dear HM and MC,
    This cross-posting you're doing is full genius. Get these questions out there and in the world.

    As I wrote over at MC's

    I'm cheering from the sidelines, for both your professions!
    This is great! THank you.

    Ann T.

  7. Law enforcement version of the ABCs = “Ambulance be Comin'!”

    And I'll have you know that EMT stands for Evidence Mangling Troglodyte!

    You'll be happy to know, MC, that on my last two murder scenes, I kept my partner outside the tape, walked in, ran my strip and confirmed absence of vital signs, and walked right back out, in my own friggin' footsteps. Seriously. Didn't move the body, didn't touch anything but the body, and only where I absolutely had to.

    I actually have a LEO friend come lecture my EMT classes on crime scene preservation. Some of his lessons have apparently sunk in. ;)

  8. Love it. I get along with my fire guys but they always want to dive in and I feel so rude telling them what to do. I’m not meaning to sound like I have a chip on my shoulder or that I’m better, I just need you to do your job in a little area and not to mess the other area up.

    I’m always curious what the fire guys want from me as I’m first on scene. I can cancel the balance on a fire, but they all still respond. Or an injury or drowning… What would you perfer me to do?

    1. If I called your dispatch and told them the armed robbery in progress wasn’t really happening, will you take my word for it or continue in just in case I have no idea what I’m looking at, or for?

  9. Love it. I get along with my fire guys but they always want to dive in and I feel so rude telling them what to do. I'm not meaning to sound like I have a chip on my shoulder or that I'm better, I just need you to do your job in a little area and not to mess the other area up.

    I'm always curious what the fire guys want from me as I'm first on scene. I can cancel the balance on a fire, but they all still respond. Or an injury or drowning… What would you perfer me to do?

  10. This is true we do tear up alot of scenes but i have been on a scene where it was a sucide and murder. I am not going into the full story but the call came out as two people shot. We sent two trucks to the scene one pt dead another one with one shot to the back of the head and to the stomach pt 2 life depened on how quickly you could move pt 2 we had a medical first responder, 3 EMT Basic’s and an EMT-I in two trucks. As i was heading out to get the extra gear we needed i was stopped by an officer who was in the door way and in my way to get that gear. I don’t know about any of you but you push an officer at a scene like that you would become another pt. i had two go around and make tracks around and into another part of the scene. I got a talking to by the sheriff of the county but when a told him that one of the officer’s blocked me from going back the way i came he said ok. Protection of the scene was important at this scene so they could paint a pictures of what went on how it unfolded. Some times you have to make tracks to save a pt. life which may upset police. As we ran code three from the scene get to the helicopter for the pt. we got the pt.on the chopper after that our full crews where called back so they could find out who’s shoe prints were who’s. We went back to the scene to let them do there checks and was released about 20 minutes later to get back on duty. It was a mess up but like i said you try to push an officer out of the way and see what happens the officer was there to protect us because they where not sure if there was another person in volved

    1. Curiosity is getting the nest of me here..If they didn’t know if there was anyone else involved…like the shooter maybe…why did y’all even go INTO the scene? Just my opinion, but I wouldn’t think about going into an unsecured scene. Protection of self is 100% of the law!

      1. I think you mis-read. “Story came out as two people shot”. “was a suicide and murder”. I think “anyone else involved” and matching boot prints meant “LE was determining if it was murder-suicide, or double homicide” not “is the shooter hiding in the closet still”.

  11. Certainly scene safety is important, as is treating our patients, but I think the core of MC’s article is that we can make a HUGE mess if we’re not careful and be just as effective caregivers and scene preservers if we just try.
    We all know how PD can ruin a scene if they’re not careful, same for us, right?

  12. I always try to be very mindful of a crime scene, i leave with what i bring. As far as parking if there was evidence you have already seen outside where I have to park, hopefully you have an officer out there directing us where a good place to park would be. The same goes with medical calls,I have seen a helicopter land on a cop car as it was driving through our landing zone. On the other hand I have seen some medics turn a crime scene inside out and those medics give us alla bad name ( transporting a partially decapitated GSW who was pulseless and apenic, with brain matter on the ceiling) yes she messed up that crime scene. I have a great relationship personally with our PD and they never give me any problems an I never give them any cuz we do what we can for each other. I love my Blue Partners and they love me since Im the one who is gonna be there saving their life when they need it. And if someone has hurt me I know they gnna catch those bad guys and give em hell…

  13. If I called your dispatch and told them the armed robbery in progress wasn't really happening, will you take my word for it or continue in just in case I have no idea what I'm looking at, or for?

  14. I actually read your whole article (I usually stop when the f’in starts-I hear that kind of language on the job way too much and I don’t like to take it from someone who isn’t close enough for me to stick a sock in their mouth!) Anyway, great stuff there. I’ve been doing this job for a long time but I know I still occasionally tunnel vision it to my patient. No, I don’t think you could get me to agree to park my ambulance with all the gear, meds, equipment, 200 yards from my patient any more than I could get you to park down the block from YOUR equipment. However, I would certainly love to have someone out there telling me where a safe and handy place was where I could give my patient decent care and not be in your way. We get along great with our PD and FD. We know they are there for us in any situation. I have forgiven the fireman for waving me into a parking spot when I arrived in my private vehicle on a MVC. Someone else pointed out to us both that he had parked me under a yet live, downed power pole line! My fault for listening and not checking my own safety but I still give him a bad time for it!. The PD has forgiven me for getting myself into a potentially dangerous situation by not waiting for them to clear the scene.It has taken years to remember everything I need to do to take care of myself, my patient, my crew, and not be in their way. We tell stories on each other but I think they have us trained pretty well and we know we can expect the best from them!

    1. If you read more of Motorcop’s article at his home blog: http://motorcopblog.com I think his tone will be explained. I usually don’t use that kind of language except to quote some of my more colorful clients in my report, but it is his way and works for him.
      Thanks for not turning off so soon, come back by!
      HM

  15. This is true we do tear up alot of scenes but i have been on a scene where it was a sucide and murder. I am not going into the full story but the call came out as two people shot. We sent two trucks to the scene one pt dead another one with one shot to the back of the head and to the stomach pt 2 life depened on how quickly you could move pt 2 we had a medical first responder, 3 EMT Basic's and an EMT-I in two trucks. As i was heading out to get the extra gear we needed i was stopped by an officer who was in the door way and in my way to get that gear. I don't know about any of you but you push an officer at a scene like that you would become another pt. i had two go around and make tracks around and into another part of the scene. I got a talking to by the sheriff of the county but when a told him that one of the officer's blocked me from going back the way i came he said ok. Protection of the scene was important at this scene so they could paint a pictures of what went on how it unfolded. Some times you have to make tracks to save a pt. life which may upset police. As we ran code three from the scene get to the helicopter for the pt. we got the pt.on the chopper after that our full crews where called back so they could find out who's shoe prints were who's. We went back to the scene to let them do there checks and was released about 20 minutes later to get back on duty. It was a mess up but like i said you try to push an officer out of the way and see what happens the officer was there to protect us because they where not sure if there was another person in volved

  16. No, not obviously dead people. If the victim is in a workable rhythm (anything other than asystole or slow PEA), we work it. Otherwise, the strip is a formality.

    The last time (and this was 15 years ago) I was asked to run a strip on an obviouslydead patient, I refused. When I did, the local fire chief asked me, “Okay, smartass, how do you know he's dead?”

    I replied, “Well, maybe it's the greenish discoloration and the bloating. It might be the awful stench and the cloud of blowflies. But I'm gonna go with the fact that there are ants marching in his left nostril and out his right nostril, and he doesn't even react. I'm pretty sure he's a goner.”

    Cops laughed their butts off, and the fire chief still hates my guts.

  17. Curiosity is getting the nest of me here..If they didn't know if there was anyone else involved…like the shooter maybe…why did y'all even go INTO the scene? Just my opinion, but I wouldn't think about going into an unsecured scene. Protection of self is 100% of the law!

  18. the the best description of obviously dead i've ever heard. my medic instructor told me that years ago they used to take corpses to the medical examiner's office and they had an old hobo who got hit by a train but he had a pacemaker which was still firing and they took him in without a head a missing a leg also with the monitor still on his body to freak out the
    worker at the coroner's office.

  19. Last time I was the 3rd to arrive (first EMT) after a car vs pedestrian, after making sure the victim was treated and transported, I went to ask the troopers a question. While they were extremely busy beginning the investigation, they were happy I asked and didn’t just leave. My POV was parked next to skid marks and originally behind a trooper car. The question I asked was, “Do you need any information from me and is it going to be OK to move my car?” I gave the officer my info that he asked for and he just asked that I leave the same way I came from. “No problem officer.” was my response. Minutes before I asked these important questions a family member with a dog walked through the scene and picked up the victims shoes. Needless to say the cops were PISSED!

  20. I think you mis-read. “Story came out as two people shot”. “was a suicide and murder”. I think “anyone else involved” and matching boot prints meant “LE was determining if it was murder-suicide, or double homicide” not “is the shooter hiding in the closet still”.

  21. Certainly scene safety is important, as is treating our patients, but I think the core of MC's article is that we can make a HUGE mess if we're not careful and be just as effective caregivers and scene preservers if we just try.
    We all know how PD can ruin a scene if they're not careful, same for us, right?

  22. I always try to be very mindful of a crime scene, i leave with what i bring. As far as parking if there was evidence you have already seen outside where I have to park, hopefully you have an officer out there directing us where a good place to park would be. The same goes with medical calls,I have seen a helicopter land on a cop car as it was driving through our landing zone. On the other hand I have seen some medics turn a crime scene inside out and those medics give us alla bad name ( transporting a partially decapitated GSW who was pulseless and apenic, with brain matter on the ceiling) yes she messed up that crime scene. I have a great relationship personally with our PD and they never give me any problems an I never give them any cuz we do what we can for each other. I love my Blue Partners and they love me since Im the one who is gonna be there saving their life when they need it. And if someone has hurt me I know they gnna catch those bad guys and give em hell…

  23. I actually read your whole article (I usually stop when the f'in starts-I hear that kind of language on the job way too much and I don't like to take it from someone who isn't close enough for me to stick a sock in their mouth!) Anyway, great stuff there. I've been doing this job for a long time but I know I still occasionally tunnel vision it to my patient. No, I don't think you could get me to agree to park my ambulance with all the gear, meds, equipment, 200 yards from my patient any more than I could get you to park down the block from YOUR equipment. However, I would certainly love to have someone out there telling me where a safe and handy place was where I could give my patient decent care and not be in your way. We get along great with our PD and FD. We know they are there for us in any situation. I have forgiven the fireman for waving me into a parking spot when I arrived in my private vehicle on a MVC. Someone else pointed out to us both that he had parked me under a yet live, downed power pole line! My fault for listening and not checking my own safety but I still give him a bad time for it!. The PD has forgiven me for getting myself into a potentially dangerous situation by not waiting for them to clear the scene.It has taken years to remember everything I need to do to take care of myself, my patient, my crew, and not be in their way. We tell stories on each other but I think they have us trained pretty well and we know we can expect the best from them!

  24. If you read more of Motorcop's article at his home blog: http://motorcopblog.com I think his tone will be explained. I usually don't use that kind of language except to quote some of my more colorful clients in my report, but it is his way and works for him.
    Thanks for not turning off so soon, come back by!
    HM

  25. Last time I was the 3rd to arrive (first EMT) after a car vs pedestrian, after making sure the victim was treated and transported, I went to ask the troopers a question. While they were extremely busy beginning the investigation, they were happy I asked and didn't just leave. My POV was parked next to skid marks and originally behind a trooper car. The question I asked was, “Do you need any information from me and is it going to be OK to move my car?” I gave the officer my info that he asked for and he just asked that I leave the same way I came from. “No problem officer.” was my response. Minutes before I asked these important questions a family member with a dog walked through the scene and picked up the victims shoes. Needless to say the cops were PISSED!

  26. I’d call the Crossover a success. I love getting the reactions and opinions you all have. Any discussion that gets us thinking about scene integrity whilst typing happily away safely in front of our respective computers is a good thing. Perhaps it will be somewhere in the back of our heads as we approach one another’s scenes.

    Sue…my Mom feels the same way…but she can’t stop reading my stuff. :-) I’m a cop. We swear. All I can say is that some words just don’t fit as well. Thanks to HM for not editing my admittedly bawdy writing style. And, please, come back and read more!

  27. I'd call the Crossover a success. I love getting the reactions and opinions you all have. Any discussion that gets us thinking about scene integrity whilst typing happily away safely in front of our respective computers is a good thing. Perhaps it will be somewhere in the back of our heads as we approach one another's scenes.

    Sue…my Mom feels the same way…but she can't stop reading my stuff. :-) I'm a cop. We swear. All I can say is that some words just don't fit as well. Thanks to HM for not editing my admittedly bawdy writing style. And, please, come back and read more!

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