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  1. #1
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    Default Dealing with NJ State Police

    Yesterday (4-19-05) we had a call on Rt 295. It was a dump truck fire. I drove the second due engine and arrived within minutes behind the fire due engine. NJ State Police told the first due where to place the engine. I pulled my truck over to the shoulder of the roadway so that our crew could join the first due crew in the fire fight. The dump truck that was on fire was located within 50 yards of the on ramp and up hill from our location. The State Trooper had two lanes blocked some 75 yards from the rear of the dump truck. Our first due engine was told by the State Trooper to park in the area near the exit of the on ramp. The driver of this vehicle did this. His vehicle now was now down hill of the fire vehicle. All of the water that was being used now runs under the fire truck. When this engine got low on water we started to pull a section of 3 inch from the rear of the engine and hook it up so that we could dump the tank from the second due engine. All of this time the on ramp was shut down by our local police department so no traffic moved on to Rt. 295. The State Trooper came over to me while I was preparing our engine for the transfer and began to holler at me saying he did not want the engine at this location and he did not want hose layed where it was being layed. All of this time I said nothing. Absolutely nothing. He then told me to put the engine infront of the position of the engine fighting the fire. I did this. We then hooked up for the transfer. In the mean time the State Trooper opened the on ramp. Now this put our firefighters in harms way on the right side of our engines. The traffic flowing on RT 295 now began to swing pass the road block and back into the middle lane. Now we have put our firefighters in harms way on the left side of the engines. There were some drivers who came into the right lane and even gave us the bird because they had to slow down. This Trooper did not respect our chain of command nor did he care about the safety of our firefighters. When the Trooper went back to where our Captain was standing he told the Captain that it was a good thing I did not say anything because if I had he was going to handcuff me and put me in the Trooper Car.

    Has any one else ever run into this type of Trooper? We have encounted them on the NJ Turnpike and the Chief in Charge to us to pack up and get ready to leave. The Trooper there left the scene and we finished the fire fight. In our State we have a law that saids the Fire Chief has complete control of a fire scene once we arrive. In my opinion this Trooper did away with this law, opened the door to putting our firefighters in harms way, and place our engines in a very dangerous position.

    If any one has a solution to this problem which seems to be growing in NJ please let me know.

  2. #2
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    If any one has a solution to this problem which seems to be growing in NJ please let me know.
    1. It's not a growing problem. Many troopers are very helpful.

    2. Have the Chief of your department go and meet with the local NJSP barracks and have a sit-down discussion with their commanders. I'll bet that's never been done. They can each openly discuss their issues and needs at incidents BEFOREHAND and come to agreements. It's a lot easier to work with them as opposed to against them.

    3. Stay Safe.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Since when does a cop dictate apparatus palcement? Thats absurd! You should be telling the cop wear you want the road closed.

    I would get a copy of the statute thats says the Fire Chief is in charge, laminate it, and put one on all your rigs. Then the next time some bone head cop try's this, just hand him the staute and go about your business.

    We have the same staute in Fla, but dont need to carry copies. The cops here know whos in charge
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    In one of the companies that I run with about 20 years ago, our driver was actually arrested and placed in a police car since they did not listen to the officer.

    On a more recent note, approximately a week ago my company responded to a reported car fire on the PA turnpike. Pulled up on location and had fire in the engine compartment of a pickup truck. The trooper who responded had no problem shutting down the right lane even though the pickup was well off on the shoulder in a wide area.

    Most of the troopers on the PA turnpike have no problem shutting down the lanes, but only as long as they have to. I wish they would shut down the lanes until we are done.

    Good luck on working out your issues.

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    I remember those days.... Yes, it is quite a problem. We used to have these issues all the time, then we worked it out with State PD by talking to them in a formal setting.

    I dare say if you are in harms way stop fighting the fire. Is it worth it?

    If the trooper is giving you a hard time in any way, call for his supervisor. In this day and age, no one should put up with a poor attitude from any public servant.
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    You are doing better then Phoenix Fire, where a Captain was arrested (and later "unarrested") for not moving a truck off the freeway. I understand that after the Chief contacted DPS, it was resolved.

    Just last night, at the request of our local DPS officer, we closed the (2 lane) road and waited for ADOT when a drunk bent the guard rail across the road. He was busy taking the driver for her blood test and free stay in the ironbar hotel. We help them, they help us, mutual respect for the differing jobs we all do.

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    CT has the same law. FD on-scene = FD in charge. The police have no authority to command us. Encounters like you ahd are rare. It's happened to us once, including the "I'm going to arrest you" part. Didn't come as a surprised concidering the person that was doing it. 99% of the rest of the cops are cool. Hell, most of them are happy to have us close the road. it's less work for them.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Default sorry this is late !

    Some NJSP Troopers just don't get it ! I can tell you that I have delt with some of the same issues that you spoke of. If you have the chief sit down and talk with the station commander the situation can be worked out. My Ddepartment had a few run ins with troopers on the parkway. It was not until an ambulance was struck and a chief officer almost struck that we put our foot down andsaid this has to stop.

    We sat down with the Lieut. who is incharge after showing him some NFPA standards, NIOSH reports, and the MUTC book he was able to see our side of it. We were able to have a sit down with the commander and all of the FD's in Ocean County who respond on the Parkway we were able to put this issue to bed.

    You need upper managment in the NJSP to but into the idea and then direct the road troopers to follow suit.

    Good luck and be safe.
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    If by your name you run 42/76 and 295 there is a mechanism in place to file a complaint. A task force of the NJSP, DOT and the Fire departments laid out the SOP's for the highway. The Trooper IS the IC on the highway, get over it. The SOP says you operate as the Fire Branch. Your officer should be working with the Trooper from the time of arrival to ensure your safety. The Troops are usually helpful once we explain what we need, when left to their own devices they default toward moving traffic.

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    I agree with you that we can all get along when we talk. I can tell you that state law over rules standard operating guidelines. NJ title 40A clearly states that at the scene of any fire the ranking fire officer is in charge. even if it is on a roadway. Having said that I do not believe that breaking out laws and pointing fingers on a fire scene is the correct way to deal with it. If you can get a sit down with ranking officers in each disipline it is amazing what can be worked out.

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    We used to have all kinds of problems with the Ohio State Patrol and some of their Troopers, but haven't in a long time. They would get mad every time we wanted to shut down part/all of the highway.

    We have the same law as some of the others....... If the FD is called, the Fire Chief or his designee is in charge until they turn the scene over to the PD.

    Another "option", at least here in Ohio is to call a County Sherrif. We seldom see them in our City since we have our own PD, but we can call them if needed to handle the situation with the Trooper. In OH, Troopers aren't considered "police officers", per se and there was an incident in NW Ohio where a Trooper threatened to arrest a FF for shutting down the road at an MVA. The FD called for a Sherrif to come out and the Trooper backed off.
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    OCFM.. might want to check on a NJ Attorney General ruling which puts the NJSP specifically in charge on I believe Haz Mats and highway incidents including fires. I was a bit suprised myself when we were notified of this. That is why we operate as "Fire Branch"

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    The don't call 'em the Road Gestapo for nothing!

    Document fully, and with the permission of your chief (or under his signature if possible), file a complaint with the NJSP Internal Affairs and Investigations Bureau and the troop commander. If it gets really crazy, give a copy to a friendly newspaper reporter, who will really have fun with it.

    A few years ago the same thing happened in Maryland, and the BC was carried away in handcuffs. Big stink followed. Responder safety, not traffic flow, needs to be the priority.

    Besides, isn't NJSP the lead agency for stuff like ICS in NJ?

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    trooper must be related to the other jersey jerks that think they can drive 30 over the limit with no regard for safety and then think they cant get caught.
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    you could, without him seeing it, wrap a line around his legs and then charge it.
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    here in CT the troopers are awesome - they are real professionals and will do anything we ask. They help us pull hose, put flares when directed..the works.

    I don't know what is up in Jersey ..but here it is a team........our brothers on the state look out for us and we look out for them........you guys have a bad situation.

    The troopers here routinely give our members escorts when we are in our povs responding...they treat us like VIPS......the first time it happened to me I was kind of shocked..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    Since when does a cop dictate apparatus palcement? Thats absurd! You should be telling the cop wear you want the road closed.

    I would get a copy of the statute thats says the Fire Chief is in charge, laminate it, and put one on all your rigs. Then the next time some bone head cop try's this, just hand him the staute and go about your business.

    We have the same staute in Fla, but dont need to carry copies. The cops here know whos in charge
    Wrong approach. That will just encourage troopers to hassle your members. Never, never, never...quote the law to the law, especially at the scene.

    Meet with them beforehand..and discuss scene safety in depth.
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    Default It's called COMMUNICATION!

    As was posted above already, communicate your needs to the SP/PD/SO on scene. If the arrangements are not to your comfort level, and a conclusion cannot be reached, simply get on your big red truck and drive away! The scene is NOT safe! I think you may be able to get the LEO's attention that way. Don't let egos get in the way of a safe working environment. Above all, communicate and cooperate.

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    The NJ State Police have the sole goal of keeping traffic moving, in an effort to prevent traffic tie ups, as well as to prevent minor accidents from occurring in the traffic backup. Ever thought of asking a Trooper (while not on an emergency scene) why they are always hessitant to shut down lanes on expressways? you might be interested to find out what their goals on a scene are.

    I've dealt with NJSP on the NJ Turnpike (in a 2-3-3-2 freeway configuration) and getting a trooper to completely shut down the roadway is damn near impossible. Their goal is to keep traffic moving. While we (the fire service and EMS agencies) might want to shut down the road completely, they need to keep the road open.

    however, if you ask them nicely to shut down the road or multiple lanes for a short time so you can perform an evolution (popping a door, extinguishing the fire, removing the patient on a backboard, etc), 9 times out of them they will. you just need to be able to work with the Troopers instead of against them.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Cool

    The Iowa State Patrol use to keep the traffic going no matter what , now if they don't want to work with us I just park that big red truck in a lane and put out flares, sure there mad until they realize our lives are in danger to . Why does it always take a death of someone to get somthing done . scene safety . we have seen on tape where troopers or firefighters get hit evey year. why? be safe and everyone can return home.

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    Default Njsp

    I attended a meeting 2 years ago with the brass on the Parkway and Turnpike. They told all of us in attendance that if we had a problem with one of their troopers, that we were to tell that trooper that we wanted a Sergeant or higher to be dispatched to the scene.
    The lower level troopers hate when you do that and when faced with either being cooperative or have their boss be summoned to the call (you requested them, the trooper must relay it or he's in violation of SP policy), they tone down the attitude and become extremely helpful.

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    There was a case in Ohio in the Dayton/Springfield area where a Firefighter was either forced to move or prevented from moving a truck when the Sheriff's Deputy held a gun to his head. He climbed on the running board, held onto the mirror with one hand, and stuck a gun to the driver's head.

    The now "former Deputy" was later found to be pretty much a whack job. They also found a ton of undelivered subpoenas in his cruiser that he had shown as delivered. That litle detail was pursued via criminal charges along with the pesky gun thing, but I never heard the results.

    There was also a case near Beavercreek in the Dayton area where a fire officer was placed in handcuffs and arrested by a Highway Patrol Trooper. The judge essentially threw out the case and counceled them to learn to play together. I don't know of any other incidents this severe around Ohio, but they were certainly enough to last awhile.

    On the bright side, Ohio is developing a program called Quick Clear that put just about every agency that has a vested interested in highway operations together to "preplan" these incidents. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out over time.
    Last edited by Steamer; 09-28-2006 at 01:08 PM.
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    Bump, in the name of current events!
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    Default Talk to each other people!

    That "Quick Clear" link should be made compulsory reading for everyone in emergency services working on roadways. Just as I have asked people in another thread to see the NJSP point of view in other circumstances this one it seems reasonably clear the trooper is in the wrong.

    Police don't direct Firefighting operations. They outline to the Officer in Charge any operating limitations, or preferences or priorities and the Fire Service OIC has a duty to try to accomodate these. Likewise if the Fire Officer can't work within the Police limitations safely they need to talk and achieve a solution that works for both of them. If this solution can't be found the Fire Officer needs to remove Firefighters from danger, even if it means moving off the roadway completely until things change. No yelling, no guns drawn, just a considered and deliberate application of sound management principles.

    The best time to resolve issues like this is with a good mutually agreed SOP worked out beforehand and with regular meetings to review the plan and keep the informal contact going.
    With mutual goodwil any plan will work well, and without it any plan is doomed to failure.
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    Here is the statue for NJ.....The catch in the statue is in the last sentence.....
    40A:14-54.1. Authority at scene of fire of fire official in charge of supervision or direction of operations
    The chief or other superior officer of any municipal paid or part-paid fire department or volunteer fire company, or a State fire warden, who
    is charged with the duty of supervising or directing operations at the scene of any fire shall be the sole authority within fire lines established by
    said fire chief or other superior fire officer, or State fire warden, at the scene of such fire with respect to all firefighting operations relating to
    the protection of lives and property endangered by such fire, and within said fire lines such authority shall supersede that of any municipal police
    authority. The authority hereby invested in the chief or other superior officer, or State fire warden, shall terminate at such time as he shall declare
    the fire out. Nothing in this act shall affect the powers possessed by the Governor under the various emergency acts nor the powers possessed
    by any State agency to protect the public health, welfare and safety.

    L.1981, c. 435, s. 1, eff. Jan. 9, 1982.

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