Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26
  1. #1
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default Battle of the Badges on Route 80

    Clipped from the NJ Daily Record on November 28, 2006
    ============================== =============

    Battle of the badges on Route 80
    Trooper arrests Rockaway Twp. fire official after crash-scene dispute

    BY JIM NAMIOTKA
    DAILY RECORD

    7 Comments
    ROCKAWAY TWP. -- A deputy fire chief was arrested and held in handcuffs for two hours Sunday night following an argument with a New Jersey State Police trooper after the firefighter refused to move a fire truck that was blocking the right lane of Route 80.

    Robert Jenkins, 50, deputy chief of the Rockaway Township Fire Department and a 23-year veteran of the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department, was charged with disobeying a state trooper and disorderly conduct after arguing with the trooper at the scene of a rollover crash. The accident was off the westbound lanes of the interstate, near milepost 36, shortly before 9 p.m. A second firefighter who drove the truck also was ticketed following the dustup.

    Arriving at the scene of the crash, Jenkins said he ordered the truck to park diagonally across the right travel lane to create a safety buffer for emergency crews and police responding to the accident -- a move he said was in line with state policies designed to protect emergency workers.

    But state police said their trooper ordered the fire truck onto the shoulder because it was a danger to oncoming westbound traffic.

    In the end, Jenkins wound up handcuffed to a bench in a tiny holding cell at the state police Netcong barracks. He is scheduled to appear in municipal court on Thursday.

    "It was like I murdered somebody; they kept me cuffed in there for two hours," Jenkins said on Monday.

    Both sides said Monday that safety was a top priority at any highway accident scene. But it was the argument over proper procedures -- described as loud and hostile, with each side accusing the other of being the aggressor -- that led to the 30-year firefighter wearing handcuffs.

    A minor mishap

    The actual accident occurred around 8:45 p.m., when a westbound Nissan Maxima lost control, winding up on its roof in a wooded area about 30 feet off the highway. Its driver was already out of the car by the time state police arrived, complaining of pain but showing no obvious injuries. The driver later was treated and released at St. Clare's/Dover General Hospital, police said.

    State police called for a first aid squad, but not the fire department. However, both ambulance and fire crews were dispatched to the scene.

    Rockaway Township firefighters arrived with a heavy rescue truck, a fire engine and an incident command vehicle. When fire crews arrived, state police cruisers and an ambulance were already there, parked on the shoulder. Jenkins ordered the heavy rescue truck to block the right hand lane, giving the rescue workers a buffer from passing cars and tractor-trailers as they worked.

    According to Jenkins, that is in line with policies adopted earlier this year in Morris County -- but already widely practiced across the U.S. -- that are designed to protect emergency crews responding to highway crashes. The policy was written after several New Jersey highway workers were injured or killed along roadsides in recent years.

    Without the buffer, police and firefighters, even on the shoulder, may be working just a few feet from traffic whizzing by at 60 or 70 mph.

    An argument is born

    "My responsibility is to the men of the (fire) department,"Jenkins said. "And this is the way I wanted to protect them. It was Sunday night, and traffic was light, so it wasn't like we were blocking traffic that much."

    Troopers on the scene disagreed.

    Soon after Jenkins ordered the fire truck's driver, David Bell, to block the right lane, Trooper Kevin Fritz ordered the truck moved. Jenkins told the driver to leave the truck where it was, and the argument ensued.

    Ultimately, all vehicles were moved to the shoulder.

    According to Maj. Matthew Walker, North Jersey commander of the state police, the trooper determined that the blocked lane was a danger to passing vehicles -- particularly because there were no cones or flares placed east of the truck to warn approaching drivers that the lane was blocked and to ease traffic to the left.

    1 policy, 2 views

    And that, state police said, is in line with the same policy cited by Jenkins, which calls for advance warning of lane blockages to motorists and, above all, gives state police the final say at any accident scene on a state highway.

    "Our troopers on the scene are concerned with the public safety," Walker said. "Basically, the troopers tried to take care of an unsafe situation."

    That's where the story splits, however.

    Jenkins said Trooper Fritz was "irate" and "lost his cool,"while he remained calm. State police called Jenkins "hostile and argumentative," insisting their trooper handled the situation properly, even waiting until Jenkins had wrapped up his duties before placing him under arrest.

    Madison Fire Chief Douglas Atchison, who chaired the committee that wrote the "blocking" policy for Morris County, said the local guidelines are based completely on standard procedure for highway crashes around the country. He would not comment directly on Sunday night's incident, but said both sides appeared to have had safety in mind.

    "There's too many emergency responders killed or injured when operating in or near traffic," Atchison said Monday. "The whole premise is that it's the secondary accident that's going to be a killer."

    Point of agreement

    "It's a shame it had to get to that point," he said.

    Both Rockaway Township and state police officials agreed on that point, too, even while defending their people.

    "Safety is a major concern for the fire department," Rockaway Township fire chief Joe Mason said. "We weren't just arbitrarily on the highway with cars going 70. You're within six feet of these cars. Once somebody gets killed on the highway, though, it's too late to say we should do something about this."

    "We have to have a better rapport with these troopers. Do we feel they did something horribly wrong? No," Mason said. "That's why they have courts, I guess."

    Capt. Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the state police in Trenton, had similar things to say.

    "You can't have vehicles stopped in the motoring lanes on Route 80. You just can't do that -- that was the bottom line for our troopers, the fear that that fire truck was going to be struck unnecessarily," Della Fave said. "We're all in the public safety business here."

    Going to court

    Jenkins is scheduled to appear at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Rockaway Township municipal court. Mason said the fire department will consult with township attorneys before deciding its next step.

    Although Mason and the commander of the state police barracks in Netcong spoke early Monday morning, when Mason arrived to take Jenkins home, Walker said the charges against Jenkins would stand.

    Bell, the heavy rescue truck's driver, also was issued citations for disobeying a state trooper and for operating a vehicle without his driver's license -- which he left in his pants at the fire station when he changed into his turnout gear.


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    9

    Default Route 80 madness

    Bell, the heavy rescue truck's driver, also was issued citations for disobeying a state trooper and for operating a vehicle without his driver's license -- which he left in his pants at the fire station when he changed into his turnout gear.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    How many of us wake up in the middle of the night and just get dressed and grab our gear and go....if I realize I forget my wallet I don't drive home or back to the station to get it.

    I couldn't explain to the patient that I had to delay care because I forgot my wallet and I couldn't look myself in the mirror if that person died because I drove back to get it.

    Adding the citation of not having the license was just cake to the trooper on top of disobeying an "not so smart" order.

    Sounds like a turf battle to me on I-80. Would you rather have a car crash into a firetruck or right into your incident scene.

    All our highway calls the more equipment the better to block lanes and create that buffer zone. Also why did they just call for first aid? We always run an engine also to cut the battery cables and in case the patient needs to be flown to a trauma center.

    Why not mention to the chief to set up flares or cones?

    Now its going to be battled out in court. What a waste of your tax dollars.

    Bad cop...no doughnut.
    Last edited by professorduck; 11-28-2006 at 10:23 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    775

    Default Need a change of policy/law

    In New Hampshire, by statute, when fire and police are both involved in an emergency response, the command goes to "the fire chief, fire officer or senior engineer".

  4. #4
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default It is unfortunate

    Here in NJ we are woefully behind the times when it comes to responder safety. There have been numerous attempts by Fire Departments in a couple of counties to get the State Police to listen and act. There is such resistance and arrogance within the NJSP that we are at best tolerated at worst ignored.

    There are NO standards or guidelines that are used by the State Police with any consistency. It comes down to which trooper you get on scene. Sometimes they will let you shut down a lane, other times they wont.

    I am sorry to say that I have been that Fire Chief who has extinguished a camper fire on the shoulder with NO lanes closed. Our engine chaffeur was basically standing on the white line between the slow lane and the shoulder. The trooper would not allow us to shut the lane. This was also a sunday night at midnight. His response was, "there's not much traffic".

    When pressured the NJSP supervisors always blame the DOT and their statistics for lane closures. The other excuse is that they are worried about distractions and causing secondary accidents.

    Unfortunately, it will take a death to get action. I'm so frustrated that I would like to see other Chiefs in the county just put their foot down and refuse to respond to calls on Route 80. If we all threatened to stop responding, they would have to listen.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    150

    Default

    Jenkins is scheduled to appear at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Rockaway Township municipal court. Mason said the fire department will consult with township attorneys before deciding its next step.

    I will be there and I hope all the Brothers in the Morris County area
    will show up to support Chief Jenkins and FF Bell.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dashman
    Jenkins is scheduled to appear at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Rockaway Township municipal court. Mason said the fire department will consult with township attorneys before deciding its next step.

    I will be there and I hope all the Brothers in the Morris County area
    will show up to support Chief Jenkins and FF Bell.

    I hope enough of us show up so that they have to hold court in a bigger room, that'd make a point. I'm still apoplectic about what happened....

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    City of Boston
    Posts
    3

    Default New Jersey

    As in the State of Massachusetts, we think we are in charge of an incident. I have seen my Fire Chiefs have the State Police and City Police tell us what they want us to do. And guess what we go out of the way and do it, because alot of book Chiefs, not FIRE Chiefs have no glue what the hells going on any more. In my town first arriving unit will report NO fire hazard exists, what the hell could that mean, think about it, we are the fire department and NO FIRE HAZARD exists here, hey, what about injuries, intrapment and of course fluids. My next question why did we even send fire, if NO FIRE HAZARD, this is what the Chief wants.Give a cop a hard time at an incident and you will be arrested, because they did there thing they got victim,s name and date of birth. I have personaly seen police threaten to lock Firefighters up, at incidents. So who's in charge??? Just think about it NYPD and FDNY, turf battles. I thought a cops job was to PROTECT and Serve, my job as a Firefighter is to prevent fires and SAVE LIVES, is it anymore? Now in Massachusetts, when we have a motor vehicle accident we send apparatus to help injured or trapped people, involved in the accident, but wait what about hazardous materials battery acid, gasoline or what ever else, got to dike, clean up speedy dry what ever, Coast Guard watching for you to flush down, then they react. But let a cop tell you there all set with gas and fluids all over the road. Coast Guard has blind eye. We as Firefighters are being beaten over the head by every agency who has political clout. Because our bosses have rolled over, So to the Chief in Rockaway, good job, and good luck, AND STAY SAFE OUT THIER.

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    MICHIGAN
    Posts
    22

    Default License

    Quote Originally Posted by professorduck
    Bell, the heavy rescue truck's driver, also was issued citations for disobeying a state trooper and for operating a vehicle without his driver's license -- which he left in his pants at the fire station when he changed into his turnout gear.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    How many of us wake up in the middle of the night and just get dressed and grab our gear and go....if I realize I forget my wallet I don't drive home or back to the station to get it.

    I couldn't explain to the patient that I had to delay care because I forgot my wallet and I couldn't look myself in the mirror if that person died because I drove back to get it.

    Adding the citation of not having the license was just cake to the trooper on top of disobeying an "not so smart" order.

    Sounds like a turf battle to me on I-80. Would you rather have a car crash into a firetruck or right into your incident scene.

    All our highway calls the more equipment the better to block lanes and create that buffer zone. Also why did they just call for first aid? We always run an engine also to cut the battery cables and in case the patient needs to be flown to a trauma center.

    Why not mention to the chief to set up flares or cones?

    Now its going to be battled out in court. What a waste of your tax dollars.

    Bad cop...no doughnut.
    Here in Michigan the law doesn't require us to have our drivers license
    on us if we are responding to or from an emergency scene.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    1

    Default Express Your Thoughts to NJ Governor Corizine

    Send your comments on this incident to Governor Corzine of New Jersey http://www.state.nj.us/governor/govmail.html It's unbelievable that in the post 9-11 era, agencies can't work together on a simple emergency scene. It is a national embarrassment to his State Police and their judgment that they would arrest a fire chief officer who was protecting an emergency scene and his crews while rendering aid and actively mitigating hazards.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,672

    Default

    Wouldn't "working together" mean that both the FC and SP would have agreed on an action?
    "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?

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    East Side VFD
    Posts
    11

    Smile NIMS Anyone

    I thought that ALL Public Safety Agencies were required to be complinate with NIMS, to recieve funding in the near future. Fire Agencies in this area need to investigate whether NJSP are compliant. It does not sound like they were on this incident. NIMS REQUIRES that ALL Public Safety Agencies work together on ALL incidents big and small.

    I wonder if the trooper's name was Barney?..........

  12. #12
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,672

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chief6400
    work together
    That is the key.

    I asked before, for the NIMS fans (that actually believe in that system)...what happens when the Unified Command is not unified? Then what?


    (I'll give you a hint...the police arrest the fire chief)
    "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?

  13. #13
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    I asked before, for the NIMS fans (that actually believe in that system)...what happens when the Unified Command is not unified? Then what?

    (I'll give you a hint...the police arrest the fire chief)
    Good point, good question... usually it involves compromise. Well, we all know that there will be no compromise with the NJSP. I would settle for at least being included in the plan. Many times I hear about what is going to happen (like a NJSP medivac landing on the highway) as it happens.

    That said, I believe in NIMS/ICS, but it has to be embraced and practiced by those involved. We all know that the SP follow SPIMS, here in NJ.

    LOL

  14. #14
    Forum Member Stopdropnroll's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Clackamas County, Oregon
    Posts
    20

    Default

    anyone know how this ended? SDnR

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,017

    Default

    I guess we are pretty lucky here. We have really never had a problem with shutting down the limited access highway here. The CT State Police assigned to my area are great to work with and have no problem in shutting down a lane. We always try to open up the lane as fast as possible. It's all about a little give and take. The only issue we ever with the had with the CSP involved a personality conflict between one of my captains (now retired) and just about anyone else who arrived on scene.

    We had an LODD of a police officer at a traffic stop in the early 1990's. The local LEO's who were on then have no problem with us shutting down a road for an MVA.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    14

    Default Stay in the house and cook somethin'

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Well, we all know that there will be no compromise with the NJSP. I would settle for at least being included in the plan. Many times I hear about what is going to happen (like a NJSP medivac landing on the highway) as it happens.
    Hmmmm lets get this straight. NJSP and NJSP Helo Medivac, and they need FD?
    And why would this be?

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Blackwood NJ, USA
    Posts
    816

    Default

    How do you not know a helo is coming? If EMS requests it before we arrive we are notified or we discuss it on scene. PD generally does not request a helo, again if they do it goes through fire communications. When we do get southstar they talk directly to us on the SJ Net frequency but do notify the Troops on the 800 radio

  18. #18
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AflackQuack View Post
    Hmmmm lets get this straight. NJSP and NJSP Helo Medivac, and they need FD? And why would this be?
    Actually that is the medevac's policy. They request us. Although, I guess the trooper can throw their little fire extinguisher god forbid something happen or perhaps they can shoot at it.

    Wow... you come up with the weirdest stuff on this board and others.

  19. #19
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default Case postponed until Jan 31

    I just read that this case was postponed until January 31.

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Hey gang!
    I've been following this story, since it is of great interest. In regard to this incident, the vehicle went off the road into a ditch. NJSP arrived on scene and requested EMS ONLY. The FD was never requested by NJSP. The driver signed an RMA and the EMS crew was returning to their rig when the FD arrived and setup their apparatus in the way to create the buffer. In this situation, it was not necessary. Everyone was going on their merry way. This was one instance where the FC was wrong. All of it was on the Tropper's video, including audio.

    As for PD not shutting down lanes, all you need to do is ask them. If they refuse, return your apparatus until they shut the lane down. Stay safe all!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Reading PA Battle of the Badges Hockey Game
    By L1tilr in forum Pennsylvania
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-31-2006, 10:10 AM
  2. Counterfeit badges pose ‘serious’ security risk
    By pengman in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-11-2005, 04:23 PM
  3. World Of Fire Report: 03-04-05
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-06-2005, 02:50 PM
  4. World Of Fire Report: 07-02-04
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-30-2004, 10:28 AM
  5. World Of Fire Report: 02-27-04
    By PaulBrown in forum World of Fire Daily Report
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-29-2004, 04:53 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts