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Home > Topics > EMS Advocacy

Video: Cop draws gun on responding firefighter

The firefighter has filed a $50,000 claim over the incident

By Doug Erickson
Wisconsin State Journal

OREGON, Wis. — Two adjacent public-safety departments in Dane County are at odds after a firefighter says he was subjected to excessive force by a police officer from a nearby village while trying to respond to a fire call.

Brooklyn volunteer firefighter Dan Dean, 37, alleges Oregon police officer Ted Gilbertson overreacted when Gilbertson drew his gun and held it near Dean's head during a June traffic stop in the Brooklyn Fire Station parking lot.

Full story: Video: Cop draws gun on responding firefighter

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Ken Yoakum Ken Yoakum Thursday, November 08, 2012 6:55:16 PM My Observations: Mr. Dean was in violation (as were his other 5 responders) with established response policies of an Alpha level response. The officer had not only a legimate reason to preform a car stop based on the impersonation complaint but also on the aspect of a driving withOUT due regard to the safety of others. He attempted to pull over the vehicle and THEY chose not to stop. At this point he has to presume that something is occuring that may harm his safety and has every reason to produce his weapon in a defensive posture. The video CLEARLY shows him doing this and at no time performs any procedure that would cause untoward "fear" in Mr. Dean. Not only should Mr. Dean be fined and reprimanded for not yielding to a law enforcement officer (afte all if were going to the same call then pull over and let him lead the way, he is the more trained person in emergency vehicle operations) he should be convicted of driving without due regard to the safety of others and should be required to remove the emergency lighting and siren from his vehicle. He has demonstrated he is not capable to be responsible to use it appropriately!
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Thursday, November 08, 2012 8:49:20 PM The fact that the fire chief has chosen to back this firefighter for such unsafe driving is a disgrace to all professional firefighters and an insult to other volunteer FDs. 100 mph and passing cars in no passing/unsafe zones at night to a NON EMERGENCY CALL is not exercising due regard. Any police officer has an obligation to protect the public from randy rescue adrenaline junkies like this. The really bad part is this guy probably still drives a fire truck and will think he is king of the road to do as he pleases if he wins this dumb ass suit. This fire chief needs a reality check and a better policy to protect the public from drivers like this. If all the other volunteers also responded like this, it is only a matter of time before someone dies from their stupidity. No need to drive 100 mph even for an emergency.
Emt Tammielee G Emt Tammielee G Friday, November 09, 2012 7:05:25 AM After watching the video I can see both sides of this. Who's wrong, we'll, wrong I think is the incorrect question. More like what was the problem here? I can only assume that the officer and the FIRE/EMS workers aren't on the same radio system. Since neither of them knew what the other was doing. Meaning the FIRE/EMS calls would have been heard on the officer’s radio. He would have asked the dispatcher to clarify if there was an active FIRE/EMS call going on in that town. Also if Mr. Dean had a scanner he would have realized the officer was chasing him given all the location details the officer was supplying! So the problem is "in my opinion" excessive speeding and lack of communication. I know we all do it, however the officer traveling 90+ mph to catch the Mr. Dean's car was absurd! Who drives that fast to get to a FIRE/EMS call? If you do then you're a hazard! I know we speed but that's just plain reckless! Now, not sure if Mr. Dean had the ability to log on to "I am responding" type software or via portable to call himself in route to the call? If that had been the case once his plate was ran and it came back to the FIRE/EMS workers who logged in or called in. Hence, the dispatcher would know this and could have relayed the message to the officer who might have his tension eased some to know it was less likely to be the impersonator! With that being said, I can see that Mr. Dean might have thought he was getting reverse police escort, really stretching this! I know if I have a cruiser behind me on my way to a call I pull over and let him go and follow him it's just safer! If he wrecks his cruiser and my personal vehicle remains intact, sorry but I'm OK with that! Safety for "ME" and everyone with me. How many times has that been pounded into our heads? In the officer defense, he had been on alert for a car like Mr. Deans for impersonating an officer. He was 100% within his realm of thought that it could be the impersonator until proven otherwise! In this case it was proven otherwise. But, before it could be proven he had to take the standard and necessary actions to keep him safe! Especially with the fact that Mr. Dean did not pull over did not slow down ultimately led the officer to believe it was the impersonator! That's my two cents. I'm sure in time it will all blow over and certainly requires some adjusting in the notification process between officer and emergency workers. What can be taken away from all this? It should be a message to all that we are there to save lives not to create accidents or harming others with reckless driving! SLOW DOWN! ALSO, find ways to open the lines of communication between the Emergency workers. It connects us and put on the same page and removes the standing stigmas between some officers, Firefighters and EMT's!
Sindee Conley DiBenedetto Sindee Conley DiBenedetto Friday, November 09, 2012 7:08:08 AM I wanted to share the article but could not without your comments as I dont want it read WITHOUT your comments!
J.t. Cantrell J.t. Cantrell Friday, November 09, 2012 2:56:47 PM Having worn all three "hats" fire, police and EMS I regret that I must say that the FF should have pulled over if nothing more than to see if the officer was in pursuit or on another call. I certainly cannot blame the officer for "being ready" in case he did in fact have an impersonator on his hands. Aside from the EMS plate the car did not appear to have any markings on the rear ( and license plates do get stolen). I have often pulled over or slowed on EMS responses to let a police unit running hot pass (yes I was in a marked ambulance at the time). Granted while driving fire apparatus I did not pull over for any other unit unless directed by radio. The officer did state very correctly what he was doing and what led to the weapon being drawn. Fire and EMS personnel take a lot of risks, yes but until you have walked up on a traffic stop with no backup at midnight, especially on what could be a felony stop. That my colleagues is another level of stress altogether.
Jennifer Duval Jennifer Duval Friday, November 09, 2012 3:49:04 PM The police and Fire in my towns can hear each other (scanners are usually on scan) Fire/EMS will switch over to a tac frequency when on a scene but if police have there radios on scan they will hear that.. I am responding will only work if the police have acess to that program, peterborough had it for awhile, and its a computer program you purchase that shows on the scene to people at the FD who has called in (the dispatch for Fire/EMS) can see this which is in Keene but police go through hillsborough county.. Its not always as simple as you stated, depending on location. I didnt watch the video only what you read.. And agree 100% no need to go 90 miles to a scene he should have been arrest for excessive speed and reckless driving and disiplined by the FD Most if all have SOP in place that im sure have responce in there....
Jennifer Duval Jennifer Duval Friday, November 09, 2012 3:51:44 PM GO BLUE: Clark's written report faults the firefighter for acting without "due regard" for public safety. The call went out as an "Alpha-level" page for an "odor investigation." According to Dane County policy, Alpha-level calls are non-emergencies and should be answered with "no lights, no siren (and) normal driving conditions,"
Jennifer Duval Jennifer Duval Friday, November 09, 2012 3:52:38 PM The Firefighter is 100% at fault............. My 2 cents, even having a plate on his car means NOTHING doesnt give rights to break laws.
Tammy Jo Moseley Tammy Jo Moseley Friday, November 09, 2012 8:10:57 PM Really-It was an alpha level call. These folks need to get a clue and stop running around like they are above the law before thay kill someone. I have been a volunteer and in my younger days drove like a maniac running "code" across district. I had a near miss with a cow and figured out that safety is more important. Common sense would tell you to pull over and yeild right of way to the officer in the marked vehicle that is potentially responding to a call. Had he done that, he would have figured out that the officer was trying to pull him over. Guns wouldn't have been drawn and this guy wouldn't be crying about almost getting lead poisoning. We have to remember that most citizens on the roadway do not expect to have to yield right of way to unmarked POV with lights on them. You are potentially creating a public safety hazard.
Dan Douglas Dan Douglas Thursday, December 06, 2012 11:12:37 AM The fireman is suing the police for $50,000? For what exactly? There goes what small amount of sympathy I had for him.
Steve Boling Steve Boling Tuesday, December 11, 2012 2:08:48 PM As a safety officer, I urge all firemen to think before initiating your lights and sirens for low importance calls. There are calls that I often respond to Code 3, but that does not mean that I exceed the speed limit. Fortunately we share dispatchers in our district which hopefully would prevent this for myself or any of my other units. I see this as an unfortunate event, but my local deputies would have approached at gunpoint or taser drawn also.
Aleatha S. Fuqua West Aleatha S. Fuqua West Tuesday, December 11, 2012 5:08:08 PM Having been both a fire fighter and a law enforcement officer, I have to say the fire fighter was obviously at fault here. The first lesson dad taught me as a fire fighter was "you're not going to be doing anyone any good if you compromise your safety or the safety of others."

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