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Calif. firefighter makes traffic stop, authority to do so questioned

The sheriff's department’s legal team says firefighters shouldn't be pulling cars over


RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. — There was no place for wrongdoing to get comfortable at 2013′s version of  “Rafting Gone Wild.” More than 100 sets of eyes – police, sheriff’s deputies, park rangers – were on the lookout for anything that looked illegally out of place in Rancho Cordova.

Patrick Brosnan wasn’t even trying to raft, he was just driving near the Sunrise access to the American River when he got stopped.

“He turned on his lights as soon as we came out of that street right there,” said Brosnan, pointing to what he said was the site of a very confusing encounter. He was stunned to find out the eyes trained on him. The ones attached to the person who pulled him over in the middle of all the rafting traffic belonged to a Sacramento Metro firefighter.

Full story: Man Says Firefighter Pulled Him Over

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Jill Alcock Leone Jill Alcock Leone Friday, July 19, 2013 11:56:16 AM Then cops should run into buring buildings to be the hero. And cops shouldn't call a code yellow when why beat the fire dept to the scene. And also cops should tell the fire dept to move a truck blocking traffic while they're cutting someone out of a car on the other side of it to keep cars moving.
Frank Phelps Frank Phelps Friday, July 19, 2013 2:05:14 PM Just another idiot in a uniform that has let authority and power go to his head. To my knowledge firefighters and even the Chief has NO authority outside a working fire or accident scene except for writing fire lane citations. At least in Va anyway.
Taylor Goodman Taylor Goodman Friday, July 19, 2013 2:16:50 PM Take a look at Virginia code section § 27-15.1 ... lots of good information about the authority of a fire chief (or his designee) including arrest powers. Also, many (most) fire marshals in VA are also sworn law enforcement officers with arrest powers.
Adriana Martinez Adriana Martinez Friday, July 19, 2013 3:38:46 PM @Jill , we don't go into buildings to be the "hero"!!! What the hell is a hero anyway? I think most of us do it cuz it's cool as hell and we help ppl in the process! And who the hell know what a code yellow is..... Maybe u mean a working fire....???
Joshua Carbon Joshua Carbon Friday, July 19, 2013 5:15:31 PM Actually the media is WRONG so is the sheriff and Policemen, Fire Officials Have the right to stop and question anyone that violates the law, get this firemen don't have the right to arrest anyone in a traffic stop. Peruant to US CODES HELLO!
James Pitts James Pitts Friday, July 19, 2013 5:45:08 PM Well said Frank,to many people today regardless of whether they are police or fire think just because they have lights and a uniform they have authority,maybe thats why so many cops are killed each year,badges dont stop bullets.
Chuck Weber Chuck Weber Friday, July 19, 2013 7:17:45 PM According to the California Penal Code, only firefighters assigned to the Fire Prevention Division or Arson Units have full police powers. Generally, that authority is limited to enforcing fire prevention laws, laws related to the suppression of fires, fire investigations and insurance fraud. However, these peace officers are given the authority to enforce ANY California law in the absence of other peace officers IF there is a threat to life or property or when the perpetrator has the ability to evade/escape (this point can be " stretched" to include traffic enforcement, depending on agency SOGs and Policies). FPOs and Arson Investigators are permitted to carry firearms and use any defensive tool required to do their assigned jobs and protect themselves and civilians if permitted to do so by their employing agency. Peace officer status is limited to on-duty time. FD peace officers are subject to the same citizen complaint procedures as other duly appointed peace officers and their agencies are required to 1) follow up on all complaints and 2) send annual reports to the State DOJ regarding all investigations and outcomes( note - the FD is REQUIRED to pursue ALL citizen complaints it receives about their employees, justified or not....) Given the current media biases prevalent in our nation, and not knowing how "twisted" this story got for the sake of sensationalism and "trash journalism", I'm sure that we haven't heard ALL the facts about the story, only those thrown out there to flavor what the reporter wanted to portray. Before I retired as a Fire Marshal/Fire Investigator, we had this saying about the media... "If you don't cooperate and give them the facts, they'll make up their own facts." It certainly sounds like that's what's going on in this case...
Gary Sr Eidsmoe Gary Sr Eidsmoe Friday, July 19, 2013 7:28:15 PM Be nice to hear the other side. But he shouldn't have made the stop in the first place.
Chuck Weber Chuck Weber Friday, July 19, 2013 9:28:07 PM Hey, Gary - you're right, he shouldn't made the stop, especially because it kinda sounds like he was off-duty and ticked off (read road rage) over an minor lane incursion issue. Okay, so there was a giant party going on with undoubtedly lots of alcohol ingestion, but does a minor swerve in a lane (or across a lane) mean this guy has training and expertise in DUI? OOPS ... I feel myself going to the dark side and being an advocate for the civilian ... But, at one time, we were paid to investigate and consider all sides of a problem - fact finder v. tunnel vision/close minded ...

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