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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Kentucky Paramedic Beaten

    Ok, first off I am sure someone is going to comment that this should have been posted in the EMS pages...(however I disagree - just in case). The story came to me from my FRD email, and gives an interesting account of something that many of us do as a matter of course:

    Kentucky Paramedic Beaten, Fired Following Internet Post

    May 30--CLINTON, Ky. -- The Clinton-Hickman County Ambulance Service fired John Snow one day after he was beaten up for allegedly posting pictures online of a local teenager's fatal car crash.

    More than 100 people cheered when the agency's board announced the paramedic's termination Tuesday night.

    The board heard emotional and tearful public comments for about 30 minutes before going into closed session for 90 minutes. The board members and ambulance executive director Paula Boaz came out to the parking lot to make the announcement.

    "John Snow is no longer an employee of the Clinton-Hickman County Ambulance Service effective immediately," Boaz said. Chairman Bill Little said Boaz's decision was supported by the board.

    Little and Boaz declined further comment, citing a state investigation into Snow in connection with the online posting of photos from other crashes.

    Josh Smith, 16, of Clinton died May 20 in a wreck on Ky. 58. Several people in the community said Snow posted a photo of Smith's crash, taken with a cell phone, on MySpace.com along with a blog about his work as a paramedic. Snow, a 10-year employee, continued to work as a paramedic while under investigation by the Kentucky Board of Emergency Management Service over the previous online postings.

    Lanetta Bodkin of Clinton, Josh Smith's aunt, was one of four people charged in Snow's assault on Monday. She was elated by Snow's termination.

    "If they truly fired him, I'm so happy. It was worth going to jail for that," Bodkin said. "He has to know that this is not OK to do this."

    Phillip Smith, Josh's father, also was charged in the assault. He and Bodkin, his sister, along with dozens of supporters, watched from the Hickman County High School parking lot across the street because they were barred from going within 300 yards of the ambulance service after the assault.

    The elder Smith said Snow has caused a great deal of controversy, and his termination will "do the county good." He also holds no animosity toward Boaz.

    "I don't blame her at all. I think she's done a great job with the ambulance service," Smith said. "I just hope no one else has to go through this. Burying a child is the hardest thing for a person to do, and I want others to be spared."

    Bodkin said she had no regrets about taking part in the assault of Snow. She showed bruises on her left arm and across the knuckles on her left hand that she said was from the altercation. Bodkin said she and her husband drove to the ambulance service after she learned that her brother was already headed there to confront Snow.

    "When I got there, there was a bunch of name calling and punches were being thrown," Bodkin said. "And then I hit (Snow) like I was a man. No, I don't regret it, because he deserved it. I didn't mind going to jail because I realize that if you play, you have to pay."

    Snow was treated for minor injuries, Police Chief Tracy House said.

    Smith, Bodkin and her husband, Anthony Bodkin, surrendered later Monday night at the Hickman County Detention Center, where they were charged with felony assault, House said. Ricky Omar was arrested Tuesday on the same charge. Clinton police and the Hickman County Sheriff's Department were continuing their investigation.

    Smith and the Bodkinses were released earlier Tuesday on $2,000 unsecured bonds

    House said he had not seen the online photos, but talked with several people who said they learned of the posting through third parties.

    "There's a rumor, we haven't proved that point at this time," House said earlier on Tuesday.

    During the comment portion of the board meeting, Darla Smith, Josh's mother, and many supporters demanded that Snow be fired. Others were vocal in wanting the assault charges dropped.

    "He's caused too much heartache for my family," Darla Smith said. "I'm not a violent person, but I'm glad my husband got a piece of him. He had no business using a cell phone to take photos."

    Boaz said that other officials were at the crash scene taking photos, and she had asked Snow to take photos of the entire crash scene. Boaz also told the crowd that Snow was allowed to work during the state investigation because her attorney advised her that Snow would have to be suspended with pay while awaiting the outcome, which was not economically feasible for the small ambulance service.

    Sun reporter Amy Burroughs contributed to this report.

    To see more of The Paducah Sun, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.paducahsun.com. Copyright (c) 2007, The Paducah Sun, Ky. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.c om, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.


    The reason I posted this story is that a very great many of us take photos of crash incidents, either for the archives of the Dept or any one of a number of other reasons. Recently, Alexandria County advised Fairfax FRD that no FRD personnel were allowed to take photos of any incident at any time, when responding as a mutal aid asset to any Alexandria Co incident. Not saying that this goes hand in hand with the above incident, but maybe food for thought....??

    I guess the moral of this story is if you take pictures, don't post them on MySpace.
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  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Yeah.................

    We routinely take photos and post them on our website, BUT, we do things like block out license plates, avoid victims faces or injuries, etc. We have had no problems. My personal opinion - Myspace is like MTV - Useless crap.
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    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    We routinely take photos and post them on our website, BUT, we do things like block out license plates, avoid victims faces or injuries, etc. We have had no problems. My personal opinion - Myspace is like MTV - Useless crap.
    Chief, I agree. There's a huge difference between talking pictures and posting for PR or educational purposes (on your FD site or here) and posting them for wackerific self-idolation on MySpace.

    Without a doubt if pictures are going to be posted care should be taken to make sure no personal details or sensitive scenes are included.

    "And then I hit (Snow) like I was a man. No, I don't regret it, because he deserved it. I didn't mind going to jail because I realize that if you play, you have to pay."
    Love that quote.
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    I'm a bit torn on this one. We routinely take poloroids to send with the EMS unit so that the trauma docs can see the MOI. I know that's a bit different than this situation.

    However, if he took photos and did not have any identifying images or pictures of any victims, I don't see a big enough issue to be terminated. It was distasteful perhaps, but how many pictures of MVCs and other incidents have we seen on this very website? What if the local paper had printed pictures, would the reporter have been beat up and then fired?

    For some reason I foresee a lawsuit out of this guy with a freedom of expression or some related defense.

  5. #5
    Forum Member res54cuecaptain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    For some reason I foresee a lawsuit out of this guy with a freedom of expression or some related defense.
    somehow i think your right....this is turming into a lose-lose situation, isnt it
    First in, Last out, nobody left behind.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    However, if he took photos and did not have any identifying images or pictures of any victims, I don't see a big enough issue to be terminated. It was distasteful perhaps, but how many pictures of MVCs and other incidents have we seen on this very website? What if the local paper had printed pictures, would the reporter have been beat up and then fired?
    I am a bit torn about this one also. I guess for me the difference between Snow posting the pictures, and the newspaper posting the pictures is this:

    Snow was in a position of trust. People expect their EMS responders to be caring, confidential, and they trust them not to take advantage of their situation.

    Reporters: Nobody trusts them. If there is a reporter on scene everybody expects the worst. We expect that the worst possible picture will end up in the worst possible place.

    Also a difference in content in my opinion:

    News: Picture shown for the following message: "Tragic accident, someone died, lets remember to be save, maybe talk about similar accidents that have happened on that stretch of road, urge the city to make it safer, blah blah blah..."

    MySpace: Picture shown for the following message: "I am soooooo cooooool. Look what we cut out of a car the other day.....She was torn up.........I am a Medic God.....Look at me please...somebody...please look at me........."

  7. #7
    Forum Member CodeBlueEMT's Avatar
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    My 3 year old son was killed in a car wreck in 2003. I can only imagine how angry I would be if his pictures showed up on MySpace. Should he have been fired? I say "no". That *** kicking was enough.

    Shayne
    "Being talked to death is a terrible way to die"

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    I hear ya marcus. But is it fair to say that it's one of those things that if the family wants the right to express their outrage, he should have the right to express his mindset? The ol' double-edged sword.

    I don't want to pirate a thread by any means, but as a "think about this" type of question, how many of us (as fire departments/EMS agencies) use pictures of MVCs, fires, etc. for PR? We have a photographer for my career department that goes to scenes to take pictures of us in action, with some ground rules of course.

    I realize we're in a position of trust, but if you don't have a policy against taking pictures while on duty, can you really terminate someone for doing so (as long as there's not victims in picture, which changes the rules entirely)?

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Once again, I think this is a case of "not enough information". We have only what amounts to basically one side of the story here. Again the press is not really doing its job of reporting the WHOLE story. Or at least thats my opinion.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    It would help to know the companies SOG/SOP's. If he didn't break any specific company rules they might be able to terminate him on a basis of "was it an ethical thing to do." This whole thing is gonna get worse before it gets better.

    And to throw another "what if" in the ring: Was the company a service that charges medicare for transports, and did Snow show any identifying features of the girl or any other patients. Now they would have a HIPAA violation at hand since as an employee he failed to safeguard his patients privacy. Even a tag on the car that can be traced to the family could be considered an identifying factor.

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    And now to the other side of the story...

    We talked about Snow's actions. What does everybody think about the people that beat him? Justified/Not Justified, should they face the full amount of the charges filed, or should there be some regard to the situation?

    If we say that he deserves it for what he did for the family then where does it end. Someone beats us because they think we didn't care or were rude?

    Whats everyones take on the beating?

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    Pic's for your web page? Braggert!!!!

    Good going that you didn't get family's permission. Are these the same photo's that you so graciously protected the victim and their family from the media from taken photo's of?

    Oh, when you haul out a Brother or Sister or one of your family member's be sure to include the pictures on your myspace and FD site.


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    Last edited by Pipeman2; 06-29-2007 at 12:01 PM.

  13. #13
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Question Huh??...........

    Quote Originally Posted by Pipeman2 View Post
    Pic's for your web page? Braggert!!!!

    Good going that you didn't get family's permission. Are these the same photo's that you so graciously protected the victim and their family from the media from taken photo's of?

    Oh, when you haul out a Brother or Sister or one of your family member's be sure to include the pictures on your myspace and FD site.


    FTM PTB RFB
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    Maybe I missed something, but I see a huge difference between a FD website and that #$%#@$% Myspace.
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    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Yes, there is a difference between MySpace and the majority of department web-sites. The problem is though, some of these department web-sites look the same as those MySpace pages.

    Honestly, there are some in which I can't tell the difference between them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    And now to the other side of the story...

    We talked about Snow's actions. What does everybody think about the people that beat him? Justified/Not Justified, should they face the full amount of the charges filed, or should there be some regard to the situation?

    If we say that he deserves it for what he did for the family then where does it end. Someone beats us because they think we didn't care or were rude?

    Whats everyones take on the beating?
    I'm thinking they should be prosecuted and as the woman said, "if you play, you have to pay." It's one thing to catch a guy in an alley and go at it man to man, but for three people to gang up on a guy at work at an EMS agency is wrong on many levels. I don't know if it's any worse in KY to assault a public servant or not, but if he's in uniform and on the job that makes it worse.

    I guess I see it as vigilante justice and outright assault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45 View Post
    Yes, there is a difference between MySpace and the majority of department web-sites. The problem is though, some of these department web-sites look the same as those MySpace pages.

    Honestly, there are some in which I can't tell the difference between them.
    :::Cough cough:::: http://www.kentland33.com/ :::Cough Cough::::













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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    :::Cough cough:::: http://www.kentland33.com/ :::Cough Cough::::













    Disclaimer: THIS IS A JOKE! NO MORE NASTY PMS PLEASE!

    You know, one of these days I'm going to learn to not sip tea and read stuff on here at the same time....LOL

  18. #18
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    Default A couple of important things to note here

    Before we jump in and condemn the guy, let's take another look at what we think we know based upon the article MalahatTwo7 provided, Pulitzer Prize material that it is.

    Snow, the EMS agency employee in question was already under investigation by the Kentucky Board of Emergency Management Service (huh?)for previously posting photos online, but was instructed to take the photos of the incident, which precipitated the assault upon him, by the Director who later decided to terminate his employment for doing so.

    "Boaz said that other officials were at the crash scene taking photos, and she had asked Snow to take photos of the entire crash scene. Boaz also told the crowd that Snow was allowed to work during the state investigation because her attorney advised her that Snow would have to be suspended with pay while awaiting the outcome, which was not economically feasible for the small ambulance service."

    What were either of them thinking? Was Snow being set up? Was Boaz just not with it? In my mind, questions abound.

    Further, it should be noted, before we judge whether the family of the deceased teen acted accordingly, there was no indication given in the article that the photos had, in actuallity, been posted online. Point in fact, those accused of and, in some cases, admitting to the assault upon Snow state they had not seen any such photos.

    "House said he had not seen the online photos, but talked with several people who said they learned of the posting through third parties."

    "There's a rumor, we haven't proved that point at this time," House said earlier on Tuesday."

    What it seems to me, based solely upon this brief examination of the "facts", what they have there in Clinton, Hickman County, Kentucky is an EMS agency without an established, clear and enforced SOP / Rules and Regulations / Policies and Procedures /etc. detailing the collection of photographic documentation and the subsequent dessimination of the same, or that would have been the reason given for Snow's dismissal, rather than the simple announcement made by BOaz.

    "John Snow is no longer an employee of the Clinton-Hickman County Ambulance Service effective immediately," Boaz said. Chairman Bill Little said Boaz's decision was supported by the board."

    "Little and Boaz declined further comment, citing a state investigation into Snow in connection with the online posting of photos from other crashes."

    I would suggest (and, I realize I am the new guy, so I do so with my head down and in the meekest voice I can manage), as we are now living, working and playing in the electronic information age, a review and, possibly, revision of the SOPs regarding the release of information by all agencies might be in order.

    In my former department, no information about an incident was to be released to the media or discussed outside the ranks of the department without the prior expressed permission of the Chief. This was written policy which all members were required to read and acknowledge knowing by signature. The penalty for noncompliance was extreme and unpleasent.

    Well, just two cents worth from me.
    Last edited by formerOHvolly; 06-29-2007 at 04:57 PM.
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  19. #19
    FossilMedic
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    Default back to the northern Virginia example

    Actually, it was ARLINGTON county that advised the automatic aid companies about their new policy on fireground pictures.

    from http://www.acfd3.com/ (which is a nice example of an unofficial station site)

    UPDATED March 21 - Thank You to everyone that has voiced concern over the recent Departmental Order prohibiting any incident photography by on-duty personnel. The reason that administration took their action was based on a video published on another website that showed a fire that was still under active investigation. They felt that the video could compromise the investigation and took swift action to prohibit all incident photography until a formal policy could be developed. After speaking with the Assistant Fire Chief of Operations today it looks as if a policy has been drafted and you can expect to see incident photos back very soon. Thanks to admin for understanding the importance that incident photos play in creating a positive image of the ACFD.
    _____________

    from http://www.acfd9.com/

    Photos are Back....
    5-4-2007

    After some time a new Departmental Order was issued allowing on duty personnel to take pictures of incidents. Though there are some restrictions. On duty personnel may only use the departmental cameras that were issued to each company, and before any picture can be used for things such as this web site, they need to be approved by a Chief officer. So in the future there should be pictures of the incidents we run.
    ________________

    There have been a handful of incidents in Fairfax County where the investigators asked that photos be removed from unofficial station-based websites until an investigation is completed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by formerOHvolly View Post
    Snow, the EMS agency employee in question was already under investigation by the Kentucky Board of Emergency Management Service (huh?)for previously posting photos online, but was instructed to take the photos of the incident, which precipitated the assault upon him, by the Director who later decided to terminate his employment for doing so.

    "Boaz said that other officials were at the crash scene taking photos, and she had asked Snow to take photos of the entire crash scene. Boaz also told the crowd that Snow was allowed to work during the state investigation because her attorney advised her that Snow would have to be suspended with pay while awaiting the outcome, which was not economically feasible for the small ambulance service."

    What were either of them thinking? Was Snow being set up? Was Boaz just not with it? In my mind, questions abound.
    The main thought for me is that there is a big difference to be told by your boss to take picture of the crash scene for the department, and then taking those picture and posting them on MySpace.

    If I work in the ER, and I take pictures of vaginal tearing after a possible rape, is it okay to post them on MySpace? After all, my boss told me to take the pictures to document.

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