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Im a Volanteer and I can issue a citation

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  • Im a Volanteer and I can issue a citation

    Im a Captain of a county fire dept in Calif. What route do I need to take to issue citations on fire calls.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Timbo40 View Post
    Im a Captain of a county fire dept in Calif. What route do I need to take to issue citations on fire calls.
    I'm presuming you mean a traffic citation. I suspect your only recourse is to become a duly sworn peace officer - ie, a cop. I hope you're not seriously considering stopping vehicles on the way to an incident so you can write them a ticket.

    If you are referring to code enforcement - I'm sure there's a process for that, too.

    Otherwise, I'd suggest that you do what most of us do - get a license plate number and a description of the vehicle and driver and contact law enforcement.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    • #3
      Unless your going to become a dedicated code enforcement officer for your department, I would steer clear of attempting to exercise this power just because you can. Here in Kansas I can arrest people for not complying with any lawful command in addition to code enforcement. I don't do either because I have more important things to do than waste my time testifying in court, I like to leave that for people who's job it is to do that. They also tend to make their charges stick when it comes to people with high dollar lawyers.

      If you still insist on learning how to do code enforcement. Your best bet would be to contact your state fire marshal's office and see if they would be willing to help your agency establish a code enforcement/investigation division. I don't know about your state, but here that means becoming a licensed law enforcement officer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Timbo40 View Post
        Im a Captain of a county fire dept in Calif. What route do I need to take to issue citations on fire calls.
        Don't do it... pass this to Law Enforcement.

        Many states do give firefighters (usually officers) the power to issue citations. During my years, I have seen firefighters get their butt kicked when trying to do this.

        We're firefighters, not ticket writers.

        Unless you are really cruising for a fight, stay away from it. If you need a power trip, change jobs.
        HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Timbo40 View Post
          Im a Captain of a county fire dept in Calif. What route do I need to take to issue citations on fire calls.
          Without knowing the laws, codes and ordinances of your jurisdiction, and if you are a career or volunteer Captain, I can say that:

          -If this is regarding multiple responses to a faulty alarm system, it may fall under the authority of the Fire Marshal's Office

          -If this is regarding traffic violations, it falls under Law Enforcement

          -If this is regarding a situation with the property (blocked fire exit, sprinkler system shut off, exposed electrical wiring, etc.) it may fall under the Fire Marshal, Code Enforcement, or both.

          I can also say that most situations require adoption of ordinances or codes, and in most cases require that a written notice of violation be issued (with a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem) prior to issuing a citation. For example, let's use the faulty alarm system- Your community has adopted a faulty alarm system ordinance- "three strikes and you are out." This is common in many areas. Upon reponse to an address the third time in a row for a faulty alarm, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) which is usually the FM or the Code Enforcement Official shall issue a written NOTICE OF VIOLATION, giving the PROPERTY OWNER seven business days to repair or service the alarm and to provide proof thereof (a receipt, invoice, or system test report from the alarm company) or a citation will be issued.

          For more serious infractions, let's say a blocked fire exit, or a sprinkler system shut down, the AHJ can order it repaired immediately, or the building could potentially be ordered evacuated and closed until such time that the violation is repaired. But you had better damn well know your legal schit if you try to pull this maneuver off.

          Care to be more specific????
          "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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          • #6
            First, you might want to learn how to spell "volunteer"....

            Why would you even want to issue citations? If you want to issue citations, be a cop, not a firefighter.

            There's another reason I disagree with firefighters issuing citations....you don't want John Q. Public hesitant to call the fire department or not providing us with information because they're afraid to get a ticket or fine. When law enforcement shows up they're often the "bad guys" (in the eyes of the folks they have to deal with, anyway)...we want to maintain our status as the "good guys" who are here to help you, not make trouble for you....
            Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
            Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
            Paincourtville, LA

            "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
            — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Timbo40 View Post
              Im a Captain of a county fire dept in Calif. What route do I need to take to issue citations on fire calls.
              Talk to your Chief about local laws and standard operating procedures. I suspect that if you've made it to Captain without picking up this knowledge that it isn't actually encouraged in your department, even if legal.

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              • #8
                I concur with dmleblanc,

                Why would you even want the headache of writing citations. The only situations I can think of doing would be code enforcement or some citizen burning without a permit that got away from him.

                Gives me the willies thinking this would be part of the job. Get friendly with your sheriff and have him do law enforcement.

                Unless your after girlies that is.
                Last edited by jam24u; 07-13-2010, 05:13 PM.

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                • #9
                  Wearing two hats

                  A while back (past winter) our department answered a call at a motel for a water leak. A 1/2" plug rusted and blew out of its threaded connection setting off the automatic sprinkler alarm. It has always been our (department) practice to restore (as much as possible) and rearm the system. Thus minimizing the disruption of as few guests as possible. One of our firefighters (volunteer) is also the City code enforcement officer. He took it upon himself, while still wearing his bunkers, to tell the desk clerk that the entire motel must be evacuated. The IC took him aside and in no uncertain terms, told him to return to the rig. The motel sprinkler system was returned to service with the exception of the small section that was isolated (valve off), and all residents were accomodated for the night. Three rooms in the isolated section were evacuated and the guests moved to different rooms, and a fire watch established for the isolated section.
                  After this incident, the code officer was informed that he does not have the right to act in the code capacity while wearing bunkers or responding as a fire fighter. He was further informed by the Chief that anything he observes as a firefighter can not be used to trigger an investigation or used in any way in the performance of his code enforcement duties. The request for the code enforcement or law enforcement can only come about through action of the incident commander.
                  When you think about the relationship between the fire service and the general public, it is critical that the Fire Department have the cooperation of the public in order to serve the community. Mistrust is the last thing we need between the FD and the public.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KuhShise View Post
                    He was further informed by the Chief that anything he observes as a firefighter can not be used to trigger an investigation or used in any way in the performance of his code enforcement duties.
                    Sorry I would have to take issue with this. I am a certified Building Code Official in Pennsylvania. I do respond as a volunteer (although not within the jurisdiction where I am a BCO.) However, if I were employed as a FF within whatever jurisdiction and responded as a volunteer, and found something that was not very kosher, I would certainly take action AFTER I dis-engaged myself as a member of the VFD, returned to quarters, removed my bunker gear, etc. I would hate to see the lawsuit which came about as a result of the Code Official "not being allowed to speak out."

                    I do agree that what your guy did was very tacky, especially given that the hotel was occupied with guests after hours. There needs to be a certain amount of give-and-take when a code official makes a decision like that. Many many departments around here have members who are either Code Officials or Fire Marshals within the same community where they are employed, and there has never been a problem that I am aware of.

                    One other thing- Your department should be very careful about restoring systems- especially if there is a dry system or some other special kind of auxiliary device involved. I usually make the Property Owner have the sprinkler company come out and restore the system.
                    Last edited by FWDbuff; 07-13-2010, 06:30 PM.
                    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You guys think he's legit, huh?

                      I doubt he's even a firefighter.
                      I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                      "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                      "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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