A dispute in Holts Summit, Missouri where the police and fire departments disagree over whether a firefighter's personal vehicle can be an emergency vehicle. The issue arose when a New Bloomfield Fire Protection District firefighter was ticketed while responding to a fire on Saturday. The police and fire department's have differing interpretations of state statutes on this issue (here and here).
Volunteer firefighter Matt Ousley said that he was driving responsibly, but taking the liberties an emergency vehicle is authorized to. He admits he was driving 10 mph over the speed limit and passing cars as they were yielding to him. Ousley said because he was using his blue flashing light and siren, his driving was legal.
The Holts Summit Police Department Assistant Chief Bryan Reid disagrees. He said a volunteer firefighter's personal vehicle, even when equipped with appropriate lights and siren, is not an emergency vehicle. "A first responder vehicle is not considered a full emergency vehicle," says Reid, "By statute it is not exempt."
New Bloomfield Assistant Fire Chief Dean Powell said the statute "says right in it, very specifically, it states different things that they can exceed the law. Similar to a police officer when they are responding. They're personal vehicle at that point becomes an emergency vehicle."
Also on STATter911 …
- Truly a great moment in public safety: ‘My dumb-ass assistant chief took it upon himself to discontinue my permit’. Fire commissioner holds his breath until his lights turn blue again. – May 7, 2012
- Must see dash-cam video: Lawsuit after WI police officer chases volunteer firefighter responding to firehouse. FF claims excessive force when gun is pointed at him during traffic stop. – November 4, 2012
- Preempting the preempters: California town cracks down on citizens with signal changing devices. – April 5, 2012
- Firefighter vs police: Arkansas volunteer arrested after meeting off duty cop on the road. Flashing lights & speed are at issue. – May 1, 2012
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