7 face discipline after failed response to injured D.C. police officer

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Three D.C. ambulance crews and a supervisory officer are facing possible discipline for failing to follow department protocols the night a police officer was struck by a car and no city ambulances were available to transport him to a hospital, according to an investigative report released Thursday.

Each of the three two-person crews were within 4 miles of the location of the injured officer but were improperly out of service or not properly monitoring radio channels while out of service.

“Each unit was either at a fire station in Southeast or en route to a fire station and could have rendered service if the proper protocol was followed,” the report states.

Paul A. Quander Jr., the deputy mayor for public safety and justice who compiled the report, was most critical of the failure by an emergency liaison officer stationed at the city’s 911 call center to monitor the ambulances available for transport in the midst of the March 5 incident.

“I believe that the [emergency liaison officer] is a critical component. It is the position that can see where the needs are and where the gaps are,” Mr. Quander said. “There was a failure there in that position but there were failures in others areas.”

The officer’s failure to monitor the ambulances “improperly allowed the units to go out of service when transport units were low or not available,” the report states.

A D.C. police officer suffered multiple fractures to his left leg when he was struck by a car at about 6:30 p.m. while on his department scooter and waited for 30 minutes to be transported to a hospital by a Prince George’s County ambulance called in when no ambulances from the D.C. fire department were available to respond.

According to the report, a basic life support ambulance manned by two firefighters and located about 4 miles from the crash site went out of service without authorization at 6:26 p.m. Ambulance 15 went out of service for close to an hour when one of the firefighters closed the unit’s laptop and “did not realize we were logged off” of the department’s computer dispatch system, the report states.

While the report goes on to imply that additional steps are required to log the unit out of the system, it does not outright say that firefighters took those steps or accuse them of lying. Closing the laptop lid should not log a computer out of the system, rather another button has to be clicked to disengage, the report notes.

Firefighters’ union President Edward Smith said the problem “shows a flaw in the system,” adding that the two firefighters called in to dispatch and discovered they were logged out when they heard a call come through on the radio that they thought their unit should have handled.

If the firefighters were properly monitoring their radios, Mr. Quander questioned why it took them nearly an hour to realize their mistake.

“If you noticed at 7:19 p.m., why didn’t you hear a call earlier when the police officer needed assistance?” he said.

Two advanced life support ambulances manned by civilian paramedics also were faulted in the incident report.

Medic 19 went out of service for about 45 minutes while it returned to a Southeast D.C. firehouse. The unit was allowed to go out of service at 6:34 p.m. by the liaison officer on the condition the crew monitor the department’s radio channel for emergency calls, which the report says the crew failed to do.

A second ambulance staffed by a paramedic crew went out of service at 6:27 p.m. when the Medic 27 crew noticed that the batteries on the ambulance’s defibrillator were dead. The crew went out of service for nearly 30 minutes while in transit back to a Northeast D.C. firehouse. The report faults the crew for failure to inspect the defibrillator earlier in the day during a staffing changeover.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto