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Well, everything was just dandy until our long time village police chief retired.

Not only did our fire department get along with Jim, but many of us had developed a real friendship with him.

The irony of this dust up between our fire chief and the new police chief is that we have terrific relationships with our county sheriff’s department and our state police.

Here is the situation that was described to me:

Our fire department was dispatched to a vehicle accident on the interstate.

Rescue 1 and Engine 2 was on their way to the scene on the 2-lane highway that leads to the interstate when our village police chief in his squad car passes both fire trucks in a no passing zone near a blind intersection and a motorist had to pull off of the road to avoid what could have been a head-on collision with our village cop.

All of the firefighters who witnessed this near miss agreed that it could have been very bad.

Our fire chief attempted to speak with the police chief about the matter, but got nowhere, as the police chief felt he did nothing wrong.

So, I called the mayor to give him the professional courtesy of informing him that the fire chief and I would attend the next village board meeting to get this matter resolved. The mayor was naturally concerned, because he knows that I can be difficult to deal with at times. And yes; this will be one of those times.

First of all, I am very aware that the law is on the side of the police officer. An LEO can literally ignore the entire Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, if they are responding to an emergency. I researched it and consulted with a good friend who was a cop for 38 years. Though he agrees that our village cop was stupid, the law permits him to pass in a no passing zone at a blind intersection, unless it causes an accident. Then, the officer could be cited for improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident or reckless driving.

Did you catch that? A police officer can take all of these risks by violating the rules of the road UNLESS it causes a problem. How screwed up is that?

And if, God forbid, a fatality occurs; imagine the magnitude of the lawsuit that is sure to come.

I want this risky behavior stopped NOW; BEFORE it becomes a more serious problem. I don’t think that I am being difficult or unreasonable. The damage would be far-reaching if this type of driving ends in an accident with another village resident.

If I am writing the risk portion of the insurance policy for our village, knowing that people on the village payroll drives like what has been described, then I would want a blank check. In essence, you could not afford the insurance premium or carry enough in your umbrella coverage to cover this type of behavior.

So, ultimately; taxpayers pay!

Simply put: a rescuer cannot rescue if THEY need rescued!

I want to rescue this now before an innocent life is taken by someone who is brain dead to common sense.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts.


The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, Art Goodrich, who also writes under the name ChiefReason.  They do not reflect the views and opinions of, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. Articles written by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form.

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Comment by Mike France on May 14, 2011 at 9:00pm

Art, we deal with the same issue with the Local Police dept. They seem to untouchable , but let a fire truck or a chief get out line and watch the Fire dept. get into trouble, recently we were called out to a SAR in the Nature preserve in our district for a lost female, now mind you we run lights and siren to these, while in route i was running hot and was being followed by the Patrol lt. in a unmarked vehicle , as always i stop at intersections and travel speed limit[ well sometimes] he followed me to our firehouse and our rescue was pulling out and it cut him off [ he was running no lights] , so we get on scene and he comes up and sticks his finger in my face and starts yelling, i told not the place and to go and cool off, after we got things set , i went over and spoke to him, i have known him for years, we calmly talked and i agreed to look at our responce policy, know it ended up we rescued 5 people that night and was needed medical attention. the next day i emailed the MA chief and CC'd the chief of Police [ now again good minds think alike, we planned this ] and before you know it the Chief of Police emailed us and stated he told the Patrol Lt's and Sgts they could tell us how to respond to calls. But that they could cite us if we brole V&T laws. all in all it worked out. I have had them ride my rearend going to calls,

Good Luck with your Chief

Comment by Art "Chief Reason" Goodrich on May 10, 2011 at 8:23am

A forty minute meeting with the town board yielded this:

The LEO can't promise that he won't do it again.

His risky/unsafe behavior has been reinforced by the board's inaction.

He WILL do it again.

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