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EMS needs to serve our communities with integrity and respect

Mourn the deaths of five Dallas police officers, but don’t lower your standards by responding emotionally to provocation

I was on duty with my local EMS provider Thursday night when news spread about the five Dallas police officers who were targeted, shot and killed by a gunman while protecting a peaceful group of demonstrators.

The duty supervisor, who met us at the hospital, simply relayed the news and said as he left, “Be careful out there. Be safe.”

Over the last few hours, the full extent of the tragedy continues to unfold. There are still many questions that remain unanswered.

Yet, I believe a page has been turned in darkening relations between civilians and the public safety personnel who are sworn to uphold the law and provide a sense of security for them.

EMS providers are not immune from the pressure of working under an increasingly watchful public eye. Articles which instruct citizen journalists on how to properly video record peace officers in the course of their daily duties already exist.

It feels to me like a lit match is being held next to a powder keg. Some will suggest that the fuse is already lit.

So, beloved EMS1 readers, remember that while we won’t ever see eye to eye on many issues in our industry, we are united in our desire to serve our communities professionally.

There will be people in your community who will paint you with the same critical brush they are applying to law enforcement. But no one can fault you for performing your duties with integrity and respect. Don’t lower your standards by responding emotionally to a provocative insult.

Finally, stand with your law enforcement family as they grapple with the horror that is happening in their profession. This is the biggest single-day loss of life for police officers since 9/11.

Mourn these hard-working professionals whose sole reason for dying was being at an event to provide safety and protection for demonstrators upset with recent officer-involved shootings. The irony is deep and very sad.

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of “EMT Exam for Dummies,” has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.