1. #1
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    Default Press interviews cops, not FF's

    Am I the only one who seems to think that the media, on every level, are always interviewing law enforcement instead of fire/rescue on issues where we would be better informed? From WTC to the MN bridge, there are always cops on there talking about rescues, missing persons, and so forth. I saw a news story today about how to survive a sinking car; the expert was a cop.

    My point here is not to start an argument about the ESU in NY or anything. Nor is it to bash cops as wanna-be FF's; I respect the work of law enforcement and have a number of friends who are more willing to risk exposure to gunfire than I am.

    My question is, why do the media outlets on every level seem to first seek cops on matters we'd be more qualified to discuss?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    Am I the only one who seems to think that the media, on every level, are always interviewing law enforcement instead of fire/rescue on issues where we would be better informed? From WTC to the MN bridge, there are always cops on there talking about rescues, missing persons, and so forth. I saw a news story today about how to survive a sinking car; the expert was a cop.

    My point here is not to start an argument about the ESU in NY or anything. Nor is it to bash cops as wanna-be FF's; I respect the work of law enforcement and have a number of friends who are more willing to risk exposure to gunfire than I am.

    My question is, why do the media outlets on every level seem to first seek cops on matters we'd be more qualified to discuss?

    There is a very simple answer to this question. In most cases, the police have a more effective PI system in place than the FD does. They have a better relationship with the press than most FD's do.

    This is not a knock on FD's or bragging about PD's. It is merely a fact of life.

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    I think that's a lot of it, George. Same situation that feeds into better federal funding for them, also. And around here, we have volunteer emergency services and paid law enforcement, so cops are generally more likely to send press releases and easier to find for interviews.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
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    I know (atleast in my department) FF are not allowed to talk to the press. Who wants to anyway?
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    The press can be one of your best advocates or worst enemies. If your FD just flat doesn't communicate with them, you are doing yourselves a large disservice. I agree that rank-and-file FF's shouldn't talk to the press. There should be a designated PIO or the IC available for that. He/she should know the limits of what they should not talk about, such as HIPPA, evidence/crime matters, etc.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
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    maybe it's because the firefighters are always busy!

    We're not allowed to speak to the press either. We either send them to our media rep if he's present or a Chief.

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    FF's are busy doing the work. PD is standing around, so they are available.

    Plus, FF's need more than a couple donuts to be bribed with.













    ps - yes, this was all sarcastic.

    My real answer, I'd have to agree with what GeorgeW says above.
    "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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    To echo what George said earlier...the PD usually has a better PI system in place and at least on the PD I worked for, there is generally a 2nd and 3rd shift sgt or who is trained and serves as a deputy PIO when the normal PIO is off for the night. Whereas, the local FD's PIO's are usually 9-5'ers and no ff's in the stations have been given the training/blessing to handle the media questions. Even on structure fires the PD's deputy PIO handles the press after consulting with the FD's OIC. Unless its a really big incident and then one of the FD's PIO is called in.

    This is how it seems to work for the bigger cities in this area....I'm guessing other areas are similar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PFDTruck18 View Post
    I know (atleast in my department) FF are not allowed to talk to the press. Who wants to anyway?

    Tell me.. when there is press coverage at a fire and the media gets it all wrong, who do you blame?

    The reporter?

    Don't forget.. in todays world with camera phones, computers and the internet... what happens in you community can be on all of the major news networks in seconds, and printed the next day in the newspaper.

    The press can either make you or break you. You don't argue with people who buy ink by the barrel, or have 50,000+ watts to broadcast a message. Feed them a little honey, you'll get it back fourfold!

    One has to remember that they have a job to do. Read George's post.. while we hide behind trhe rigs or behind the firehouse doors, the cops are out there getting their message and information across.. and they get the funding and support of the community, while we get angry andhave to make do with a bone tossed our way only once in a blue moon.

    Talk to them, you would be amazed at how much they would be willing to work with you. Educate them as to what the job is, what we do, how we do it.

    You winthe media over, the next is the public. who reads the papers and watch/listen to the news.

    Treat the media like crap, expect crappy coverage!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Looks like the secret's out............. Now you know why the Reporters are always carrying boxes of donuts around........

    I don't have a problem with the media here. They call me from time to time, and IF I can tell them something I will. If I have to say that we have no comment, I can do that too. We have an excellent relationship with our local papers, and generally, they get things pretty straight. It all comes from being proactive. When a local paper gets a new reporter, that reporter gets a call from me in a week or two, and we discuss Fire/Rescue stuff. Knowing who the players are, BEFORE the game starts, is important.
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    The big problem at my old department wasn't getting reporters to cover what we did.Our Chief was fair hand at getting the reporterettes to cover the probies/Explorers checking out the rigs on Sunday detail.
    The problem was keeping the aforementioned youngsters from running off at the mouth because the hottie with a microphone arched her back before bending over to pick up her notes.When one reporter showed up,we had to put blinders on one kid and threaten to tell his girlfriend who he'd been scoping out lately,just to keep his mind on the job.
    Everytime we'd have an incident with Channel 6 in attendence,we'd have reporters start asking anyone in bunker pants what's going on.The cops were all taking measurements of skid marks and shooting paper,scissors,rocks to see who got to write the ticket.
    Having been trained by the USN to say"I can neither confirm nor deny that statement,Sir"when asked anything,I soon got labelled as someone not to ask.
    On the other hand,I know an officer who told a male reporter to get out of the hot zone during an extrication call and later heard metal bang as said reporter got bounced off the pumper as he was hustled off the scene by his belt loops.There wasn't much coverage on that call for some reason.Just where,what time and how many vehicles were involved.
    When we had the scene under control,then we would devote time to telling people what we did.
    Usually,it was like others have said:we were too busy to talk to the press and the cops filled in the vacuum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    The press can be one of your best advocates or worst enemies. If your FD just flat doesn't communicate with them, you are doing yourselves a large disservice. I agree that rank-and-file FF's shouldn't talk to the press. There should be a designated PIO or the IC available for that. He/she should know the limits of what they should not talk about, such as HIPPA, evidence/crime matters, etc.

    True to a point, but it depends on what they're talking about. The PIO doesn't know what it looked like inside a particular fire, for example.
    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    I saw a news story today about how to survive a sinking car; the expert was a cop.
    Well, was anyone in the FD an expert on escaping a sinking car? Probably not. The police do a lot more accident investigation and prevention training than we do.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    In most cases, the police have a more effective PI system in place than the FD does. They have a better relationship with the press than most FD's do.
    I disagree (I know, big shocker there).

    Usually Police are there after the emergency are over. Think of a MVC. Once the injured are taken to the hospital, who is still there? EMS is long gone, and most of the time so is FD. But PD is still on scene doing the investigation...

    And even during an active crash, while the FD is cutting the car apart (with the officer running the scene), EMS is handling patient care (like we get a supervisor on scene), the PD has the patrol officers doing traffic (which they do pretty independantly, leaving the white shirt available to handle press inquiries.

    Ditto for HazMats, fires, and other big incidents. Generally the Fire and EMS guys are doing stuff during the emergency part of the incident. Once the emergency is over, they usually clear from the scene.

    But I will also say the PD generally has a better PIO system in place (easier for them to pull an extra officer out of the station to act as PIO, many FD's don't have the extra people to do that).
    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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    Here's an idea. Don't invite the Cops to the Fires. Why should we?, after all they don't invite us to Bank Robberies, do they??......... If I sound sarcastic, I'm not trying to, I'm asking a very real question. Here, Law Enforcement shows up on our scenes when invited. Really. As I stated above, we have an excellent relationship with our Police Agencies, but we don't overload them by having them run all calls. If we need them, we call, they haul. and that's about it.
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    Thumbs up Well...............

    Here's an idea. Fix these Forums so the @%&$@#& Double Posts will stop......
    Last edited by hwoods; 08-09-2007 at 11:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Here's an idea. Fix these Forums so the @%&$@#& Double Posts will stop......
    Uh huh If this forum is like one of the others I've been on, you'll be waiting a while. And the only reason it was fixed was because their entire system went into a nuclear meltdown of sorts. If it wasn't for that, members woulda still been waiting

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite View Post
    I disagree (I know, big shocker there).

    Usually Police are there after the emergency are over. Think of a MVC. Once the injured are taken to the hospital, who is still there? EMS is long gone, and most of the time so is FD. But PD is still on scene doing the investigation...

    And even during an active crash, while the FD is cutting the car apart (with the officer running the scene), EMS is handling patient care (like we get a supervisor on scene), the PD has the patrol officers doing traffic (which they do pretty independantly, leaving the white shirt available to handle press inquiries.

    Ditto for HazMats, fires, and other big incidents. Generally the Fire and EMS guys are doing stuff during the emergency part of the incident. Once the emergency is over, they usually clear from the scene.

    But I will also say the PD generally has a better PIO system in place (easier for them to pull an extra officer out of the station to act as PIO, many FD's don't have the extra people to do that).
    The basic premise of your post is dead wrong. Every LE agency that I have worked with did not "pull an extra officer out of the station to act as PIO". They had key personnel who were tasked with that responsibility. It usually was not their only job, but they served in that capacity. PD's report to the press every day. The PIO talk to the press every day. When you talk to someone every day, you usually have a better relationship with them than someone who speaks to them only when they have to.

    But, anti-cop people would feel the way you do. I understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    The basic premise of your post is dead wrong. Every LE agency that I have worked with did not "pull an extra officer out of the station to act as PIO". They had key personnel who were tasked with that responsibility. It usually was not their only job, but they served in that capacity. PD's report to the press every day. The PIO talk to the press every day. When you talk to someone every day, you usually have a better relationship with them than someone who speaks to them only when they have to.

    But, anti-cop people would feel the way you do. I understand.
    wow. taking my entire quote out of context, and ignoring the pertinent details. i'd say I expected better from you, but it really doesn't shock me at all.

    I'm going to quote the important part, so you, or any junior with a day of experience, can understand what the basic premise of my post was:
    Usually Police are there after the emergency are over. Think of a MVC. Once the injured are taken to the hospital, who is still there? EMS is long gone, and most of the time so is FD. But PD is still on scene doing the investigation...

    And even during an active crash, while the FD is cutting the car apart (with the officer running the scene), EMS is handling patient care (like we get a supervisor on scene), the PD has the patrol/traffic officers doing traffic (which they do pretty independantly, leaving the white shirt available to handle press inquiries).
    But, anti-firefighter people feel the way you do. I understand.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite View Post
    wow. taking my entire quote out of context, and ignoring the pertinent details. i'd say I expected better from you, but it really doesn't shock me at all.

    I'm going to quote the important part, so you, or any junior with a day of experience, can understand what the basic premise of my post was:But, anti-firefighter people feel the way you do. I understand.
    No. The important part of your post was directly quoted by me. Directly. Your words. Not mine. Not out of context either.

    Wouldn't even a mental amoeba have to admit that it would be difficult to be anti-fire fighter when you are a fire fighter? I mean, it's not like being anti-cop and proving it over and over and over.
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 08-10-2007 at 11:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Don't invite the Cops to the Fires. Why should we?.. we don't overload them by having them run all calls.
    I can't speak for everywhere, but PD should be at fires. let them do what they are good at: scene safey/control/securing, and traffic. Around here, our PD detectives do fire investigations along with the town fire marshal and arson task force.

    on the other hand, I know of several suburban departments that send a copy to EVERY medical call. and what does the cop do on a chest pains call? he gets the patients name, address, DOB and SSN, and writes a report on it. THAT'S IT!!!! medicals are there to pad their run numbers.

    some places have PD acting as a first responder. most urban agencies are lucky if you get an officer for a medical call, unless it's a potentially unsafe scene or TC.

    and btw, they aren't always invited, but when they do come, we always know where the hydrant is located; right next to their patrol cars
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite View Post
    I can't speak for everywhere, but PD should be at fires. let them do what they are good at: scene safey/control/securing, and traffic. Around here, our PD detectives do fire investigations along with the town fire marshal and arson task force.

    on the other hand, I know of several suburban departments that send a copy to EVERY medical call. and what does the cop do on a chest pains call? he gets the patients name, address, DOB and SSN, and writes a report on it. THAT'S IT!!!! medicals are there to pad their run numbers.

    some places have PD acting as a first responder. most urban agencies are lucky if you get an officer for a medical call, unless it's a potentially unsafe scene or TC.

    and btw, they aren't always invited, but when they do come, we always know where the hydrant is located; right next to their patrol cars

    What would the PD do at a medical call? I don't know, how about get there first and hit the guy with their defibrilator? How about secure the chest pain call that was actually a domestic dispute? How about help carry the pt.? How about make sure the bus isn't screwed around with when it is parked in a bad neighborhood? How about even something so simple as hold a door open? How about console the grieving wife while her husband is being coded? How about recognize that this isn't an unattended death, but may actually be a homicide?

    In Jersey City, I had a cop on every medical call. In New Brunswick, I had a cop on most calls. It would rain cops when we called for them.

    Fantasy? Nope. Every one of the above is from my personal experience. Of course, cops are pretty astute at recognizing anti-cop maggots, so others experiences may be different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Higby916 View Post
    maybe it's because the firefighters are always busy!

    We're not allowed to speak to the press either. We either send them to our media rep if he's present or a Chief.
    I was thinking the same thing, when there is real work to be done the Police need something to do right?
    Last edited by Luttrell; 02-23-2009 at 12:23 AM.

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    I usually get 2 or 3 cops at every call. Fire and EMS calls.

    I believe that 2/3 of my PD are EMT's.

    What would the PD do at a medical call?
    Take care of the patient?
    "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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