SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com) — A CHP officer handcuffed and detained a Chula Vista firefighter on Tuesday and the incident sparked a heated online debate between police and fire personnel around the country about proper protocol.
The CHP officer reportedly asked the fireman to move his truck out of the way at a crash scene and when he refused to move the vehicle, he was handcuffed.
The CHP and fire personnel were aiding victims of a rollover crash on the side of the 805 Freeway.
Firefighter Jacob Gregoire, a 12-year veteran, was handcuffed on camera.
“I just want to let you all know he’s arresting me,” said Gregoire to reporters.
The name of the CHP officer who made the arrest has not been released.
Gregoire could not believe he was being arrested.
“It’s unbelievable you guys have to treat us like this. We are trying to help you guys,” he is heard saying.
The officer replies, “We asked you to clear the road, you said ‘No.’ You are being arrested for not moving.”
Wednesday, Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi defended their vehicle blocking the accident scene.
He spoke with CBS2’s Stacey Butler at CHP headquarters in San Juan Capistrano.
“The protocol for the fire department is to protect the scene. When we arrive on these traffic accidents cars are going at a high rate of speed especially at night. We will block lanes to protect our firefighters and our paramedics,” Concialdi said.
Concialdi said he believed Gregoire acted appropriately .
“More firefighters and police officers are hurt on the freeway or on the side of a major road than in a gun battle or in a fire,” Concialdi said.
He could not specifically comment on the San Diego incident but said that after meeting with the Orange County CHP earlier today, to discuss protocol, both agencies agreed to always work together in the future.
“They have our backs we have their backs. It’s a close knit community,” said Concialdi.
In a joint statement made with the Chula Vista Fire Department, the CHP wrote, “This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal.”
Concialdi told Butler in 24 years of fire service he’s never heard of a firefighter being arrested for doing his job.