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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Paramedics riding with Cops????

    Iowa Medics Ride With Police, Reduce Response Time

    ............
    Bill Shea
    Courtesy of The Messenger

    Paramedics from Trinity Regional Medical Center would go out on patrol with Fort Dodge police in a proposed attempt to streamline emergency medical responses in the city.

    The plan is intended to provide quality response to medical emergencies while reducing the number of people and vehicles that respond to some calls for help.

    Police Chief Ivan Metzger and Steve Gibson, the manager of the emergency department at the medical center, presented the plan to the city council Monday.

    ''I think the public would see this as a positive step for them,'' Gibson said.

    Some council members suggested that the fire department, which already responds to all medical emergencies, should take a leading role in revamping the emergency medical system. The council directed Gibson, Metzger and Acting Fire Chief Gene Habben to present more details on how the plan could be enacted.

    Currently, the police, fire department and medical center paramedics respond to all medical emergencies.

    The police officers are trained in first aid and carry defibrillators in the patrol cars. The fire department has paramedics and carries a full array of medical gear on the trucks. Gibson said the only difference between the fire department and medical center paramedics is that the medical center crews can transport patients.

    Under the proposal, a medical center paramedic would accompany a police officer on patrol every day for a 90-day trial period. Advanced life support equipment would be carried in the police car.

    The police car with the paramedic would be the first unit dispatched to any call for medical help. That paramedic could decide if the fire department or an ambulance is needed at the call.

    For example, under the proposal a police/paramedic car might handle emergencies that aren't life threatening, postponing the dispatch of an ambulance until the paramedic has assessed the situation.

    Reports of chest pain or difficulty breathing would automatically result in the police/paramedic unit and an ambulance being immediately dispatched.

    Vehicle accidents with injured people involved would result in a police, fire and ambulance response.

    Metzger said the paramedic police car would be assigned to the lowest priority police call so that it would be free to respond to medical encouragement.

    Gibson said the response proposal would reduce the duplication of services. He added that it would improve safety because fewer emergency vehicles would be responding.

    Councilmen Jim Gill and Greg Nolting said the fire department is usually the first unit on the scene of a medical call.

    ''Every time I've been involved, the fire department is the first one on the scene, every cotton-picking time,'' Gill said.

    Metzger disputed with that. He said there are incident reports that show the police are often the first ones on the scene.

    Councilman Doug Laird said he's concerned the proposal will create hard feelings between police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

    ''There might be some animosity there,'' he said. ''For my part I'd just like to see that everyone agrees.''


    -------------------------------------------------------------
    I think that this is the craziest thing that I have ever heard of, unless these paramedics are oficers as well. What do all of the paramedics out there think about this? This would have to result in a large pay raise for the paramedics....right???


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    While I'm not a medic yet(in school) and I was a Deputy it sounds absolutely crazy. Now heres a thought......Give the FD ambulances, wow suprise, shock and awe. If they already have medics and the equipment, cut out the middle man.
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    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    Good in theory, but it will take some time to iron out details & bugs. What can happen with time hopefully is a stronger mesh of all emergency services, when we find the police officers are becoming more involved in EMS than simply holding my IV bag, and likewise about law enforcement. It's hard to fully appreciate the other profession without walking a day in another's shoes. Another positive response to this is a faster response time in many cases, where the paramedic cruiser is already on the road at time of dispatch. On the other hand, I don't see this as a triage possibility as much as a first response. ALS cruiser, ALS ambulance, and BLS engine (FD medic was put in cruiser) toned at the same time. Every call can establish command. If units are not needed, command calls incident under control, holding himself and releasing all others. If the fit's hitting the shan, the extra paramedic will be handy. Problem: resistance to change by any of the parties involved. Problem: police hiring own officer/paramedic.

    The concept sounds like it could be a move in the right direction, as EMS is not always traditional these days. Good luck!


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    Forum Member NFD159's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    I think I'm with FF7134 on this one. Get the FD an ambulance. Maybe it would help to know the size and run statistics of the city invovled. Are they volunteer or full time? In our city there's not a lot of officers on a shift, I could see the medic/cop unit being tied up with police related calls and being unavailable to respond to EMS calls. Although, it would probably be kind of fun going to all the police calls.

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    Is this a paid department? If so, it shuoldn't take toolong to figure out that the FD is beating the PD on most calls. (Remember), this is a rtial procedure.

    In North Jersey, many PD's have already placed "Emergency Services Units) into services. In places where there are volly squads (I don't know of any FD's who are volunteer who are running First Responder programs), the ESU responds with ALS and BLS, usually beats them tot he call, and an EMT-D or EMT-P police officer begins to render BLS until the arrival of the squad and medics.

    This proposed program is not a whole lot different than that. It could really work if they put a highly-motivated, trained cop with the medic, instead of the least motivated guy they are punishing.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    We had a medic, myself and 2 other EMT's when I was a deputy and the Sheriff freaked out when he found out we were using our EMS skills in the field. Yeah applying pressure and using 4x4s and gauze is really using our skills(not like first aid is taught at the PD academy.) He said if we wanted to be EMT's quit and be an EMT or be a deputy. We even asked if we could help out on EMS calls due to the VERY rural area and long response times for the locals. We were getting all the equipment donated by local FD and a ER Doc said they would take responsibility. And he still said NO!! After I resigned when I got my FD job, the sheriff was voted out and not long after the new sheriff started an First response for Medical calls using the deputies.

    Oh well
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    I have absolutely no problem with a PD officer rendering first aid, or carrying a kit and AED in the car for the instance when he's patrolling in the area and hears a call. But, doesn't the POLICE Dept have POLICE work to do?

    I like cops-my dad was one, and I'm the guy at my FD that always invites them in for coffee after a call-but they have a job to do. In my township, we can't get them to a medical run unless we call it a crime scene or for our safety, because medicals are not their job-they are out handling MVAs, domestics, theft reports, etc. They are extremely busy, running from one call to the next, seldom having the time for patrol or traffic enforcement.

    Wait, here's a thought-why don't we put the PD officer in the ambulance so he can help handle the reports for all the MVAs, ODs, and domestic violence calls?

    Another concern is how this looks to the public, notably the less law abiding folks. When that Medic gets out of a squad car in a "bad" neighborhood, do you think they will see the difference? This is recklessly hazarding the Medic by putting him into police situations without being adequately trained and armed.

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    Makes sense to me, saves time in small towns. But id also have to agree with ff7134.
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    Default A few years ago...

    There were a couple of PD's near Albany that had a civil service position of Police/Paramedic and it worked well until the towns grew and they needed the PD to do police work. Most of them have either turned it over to the fire service or a third service but there are a couple that still keep equipment in the cars for the officer's that still have there cards and for the rural areas. Has long has the person is trained and can do the job than I say great!
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    What's the medic supposed to do while the cop deals with a potentially violent situation? TO an angry crowd or a couple of guys on a corner up to no good or some bangers in a car he just pulled over, anybody in the front seat of a cop car must be a cop, right?

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    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I can only think of one downside to this ............. what is the medic to do when the officer is out on a traffic stop, or some other type of police work and then the medical call comes in ?
    Last edited by Weruj1; 07-03-2003 at 03:38 AM.
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    I think it's time the emergency servcies moved away from the "this is our role, that is your role" mentality.

    I'd be happy to give any trial a fair go if it improves survivability and reduces costs at the same time.


    The plan is intended to provide quality response to medical emergencies while reducing the number of people and vehicles that respond to some calls for help.
    I've been to numerous MVA's for example where 2 fire appliances, 2 rescue appliances, 2 ambulances and numerous cop cars and other support agencies are on scene- in reality, there's probably no more than 12 people doing something constructive and beneficial to the scene and to the survivability of the casualty.

    What happens in that time if theres another call? Support is called.

    I'm all for streamlining of resources.
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    Default Re: Paramedics riding with Cops????

    Originally posted by KParker
    Iowa Medics Ride With Police, Reduce Response Time

    Metzger said the paramedic police car would be assigned to the lowest priority police call so that it would be free to respond to medical encouragement.

    If I were a cop I think I would have a problem with that. I don't think too many cops are going to want to be placed on the lowest priority calls. IMO, I think This would only create bad blood between paramedics and police.
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    I don't see any problem with this.

    In many areas the PD are called out to assist at serious medical calls anyway, and it will just serve to get the EMT there quicker as well. It would be much easier to negotiate a cruiser through city traffic than an ambulance (nobody fears getting a ticket from EMS/FD - not quite the same for a cruiser).

    In many rural areas of Canada, we have already gone to small EMS mini-vans or SUVs as well, the idea being they can travel over the long distances between towns much faster than the ambulance. The ambulance is still toned out simultaneously from the central depot, but can be cancelled if not required. In many areas (such as my hometown back in Ontario) it has actually reduced the cost of the EMS program while improving response time to calls.

    I see this PD/EMS ride-along as just another incarnation of the same idea.
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    Default Re: Re: Paramedics riding with Cops????

    Originally posted by Code3Cowboy



    If I were a cop I think I would have a problem with that. I don't think too many cops are going to want to be placed on the lowest priority calls. IMO, I think This would only create bad blood between paramedics and police.
    That was my point when I said you had to have a cop who was motivated to do this. Remember, not every cop is assigned to conduct high-risk street patrol. Many are assigned to lower priority assignments; community policing, traffic, records, walking beats, bike patrols, etc.

  16. #16
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    Nice concept, but....

    Many times police are called out to do routine calls... take a larceny report, do a directed traffic detail in a part of their sector, go back to the station to do reports (not every cruiser has a MTD), bring in and process a prisoner, etc. Not to mention that while yes, they are on the road, they may be at the furthest point of their sector and have a longer response time. To me, having a Medic ride with them would not be the most prudent use of the EMS system.

    The FD already has paramedics. Give the ambulance to the FD, and the Fort Dodge FD can make money... put the money that EMS brings in into an enterprise account and the costs of salaries, rigs and equipment will be taken care of.

    Our PD are trained to the first reponder level and carry cardiac defibrillators in the cruisers. Based on the pecking order,the newer cops are assigned from midnight to 8:00, they are the most agressive when it comes to doing 1st response EMS. The 8:00 to 4:00 shift tend to be the older officers...while they do do EMS, I believe that they do not have the same amount of confidence in their skills as a kid fresh out of the Academy. 4:00 to midnight is a mix of the two.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-03-2003 at 12:18 PM.
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    I agree that we can't get locked into "this is mine, that is yours" roles. However, I've got multiple issues with this idea... Yet, one in particular stuck out.

    The story says that "the police car with the paramedic would be the first unit dispatched to any call for medical help. That paramedic could decide if the fire department or an ambulance is needed at the call." No offense to any LEOs here... But that's a sterotypical cop mentality (at least in my area) and it's not always good.

    I used to run with a FD that was dispatched by a police department. I can't count the number of times a patrol car was sent to check smoke in an area or an automatic fire alarm. They didn't even put the FD on stand-by. They had the "let's go see what it is and call the FD if we *have* to" line of thinking. One night, it ended up being a fully-involved structure.

    It's easier to turn units around than it is to request them late in the game.

  18. #18
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    does the medic get to wear a vest and all?
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    Why wouldn't the medic be allowed to wear a vest? I can't picture them saying "no, you can't wear a vest." Where I work, 70% of our night crews, and 20% of our day crews wear vests. I'm among those that do wear one. I don't even notice it anymore. I would rather one my entire career and never need it, then to wish I had worn it just once. In the last month or so, we have had a total of five police officers get shot. The other reason I wear mine is for the patients who decide to get violent (psych's, people coming out of an overdose, etc), they help with blunt trauma. And as we all should know, the risk of being in an MVA is higher when running lights and sirens, they help with the blunt trauma there as well.

    With regard to the PD having a medic ride with them, I'm not convinced I see the benefit. We all need to work together, but we don't need to tie up that many people to do so. We all have our jobs that we specialize in. Some cross training is beneficial. Following the example of having a medic ride with a LEO, does that mean we should have a FF in with them too for the smoke investigations or alarms? Should the FD & Ambulance carry a LEO with them as well? It could go on and on...increase the communication between the departments and things would probably improve in most areas. I know in the city I work, often times the PD gets the call and notify's their units before we get notified for a medical. That's a delay in response and would be why they are often on scene before we are.

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  20. #20
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    There are 3 Police departments around my area that have paramedic police officers. 2 of those are starting to scale back the police/EMS function that they provide. There were certain cars with dedicated ALS equipment. This worked out pretty well when things were quieter around here. Now that the zone cars are very busy, its not as easy to respond as quickly to paramedic runs. The fire departments have paramedics too, and they will now run the majority of the EMS calls without a police paramedic. Their local P.D.'s will no longer send recruits to EMT B. or EMT P, if I am not mistaken.

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