Boulder, CO – The long standing rivalry between police and fire is something that most officers and firefighters view as fun loving jabs at one another, much like giving your brother or sister a hard time. Of course, sometimes it goes too far but in the end, you’re family and have a strong bond that overcomes minor hurt feelings from jokes or pranks.
Well that all may be changing in one Colorado town now that the Fire Department Union has officially filed a civil suit against the Police Labor Union citing a “gross manipulation of valuable time.” The court filings show that the Fire Department alleges that on 1/17/19 they were dispatched to a local residence for a “disorderly child” off of his meds, age 11. Police, often used as surrogate parents in such situations, were of course dispatched to the scene as well.
Officers say that they passed a fire truck parked three streets over while they were enroute. Officers handled the situation at the home and cleared without incident, as is common in these cases. There was only one problem: the 911 tapes clearly documented the voice of a dispatcher informing the officers that “fire was staging until scene was safe.” The three officers cleared but neglected to remember to tell the Fire Department it was ok to drive up to the scene and obtain the child’s name to put in their toughbook before allowing the police to finish their jobs.
The fire crew had brought an engine, ladder and ambulance for the 11 year old, using every resource at their disposal when they leave the station. Not knowing the officers had cleared, the firefighters continued to stage for nearly 17 hours, not knowing what else to do. It is likely they would have continued to remain on the side street if one of the crew wouldn’t have noticed an 11 year old riding his bike to school the next morning that matched the description previously given by dispatch. This prompted an update on the situation and further confusion when a new shift of dispatchers did not know what the rescue crew was talking about.
It is unknown what amount can be won in civil court as the Fire Department didn’t go unpaid and an attorney for the Police Union’s stance is “Well, they sleep anyway, what’s the issue?” However, the Fire Union President, a Battalion Chief with 17 years experience, said it’s “hard to put a number on the emotional strain of waiting for that many hours in anticipation of dealing with a case involving a child.”
If the court allows press in the court proceedings, BNN plans to send a correspondent.