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Pasco Fla--Lieutenant Suspended over Behavior on Incident

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  • Pasco Fla--Lieutenant Suspended over Behavior on Incident

    The link below will give you the back ground on the story. Basically, after a police chase and accident a very hostile crowd gathered at the scened and Emergency Workers felt threatened. A verbal exchange (or several) apparently occurred between the Lieutenant and Family Members.

    The second link is another related story that involves a suspect allegedly shooting a police officer in the back while the officer was sitting in his patrol car. The shooting is allegedly related to the accident and subsequent fatality.

    The original accident story:

    The Shooting:

    The Disciplinary Action:

    St. Petersburg Times--Pasco County

    Rescuer suspended over behavior at accident
    Officials suspend the paramedic over his behavior during the care of Michael Reed, who was killed last month.

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 25, 2003
    A paramedic was suspended while a sheriff's deputy was exonerated as officials wrapped up separate investigations into the death of Michael Anthony Reed, who was killed last month after crashing his car during a police chase.

    Pasco County Fire Rescue officials said they will suspend Lt. Lance Bartlett, one of two paramedics who responded, for one 24-hour shift without pay for shouting profanities at Reed's relatives during the May 10 incident.

    Investigators cleared Mark Lamanna, Bartlett's partner that evening, of any wrongdoing. Also, the Sheriff's Office investigation cleared Deputy John Ardolino of wrongdoing in connection with his pursuit of Reed and his response to the accident.

    Reed slammed into a tree along Pine Products Road as he was trying to outrun a sheriff's deputy.

    A crowd that quickly gathered at the scene turned hostile as 75 to 100 people yelled threats, profanity, and racial insults at deputies, according to a sheriff's report.

    Many think Reed's death might have motivated a gunman to shoot sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison on June 1 as he sat in his patrol car less than a mile from the earlier crash scene.

    Alfredie Steele Jr., a close friend of Reed's, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting.

    Bartlett's suspension, which will take place July 14, will cost him $471.29 in wages.

    "He admitted to us that he did it," Fire Rescue Chief Anthony Lopinto said. "He takes responsibility for doing it. He's embarrassed, and he's upset that he has embarrassed the department. He wants the opportunity to apologize."

    Chief Lopinto was apologetic about the incident Tuesday but defended Bartlett as a 28-year veteran who was dedicated to saving lives.

    "If you were involved in a traffic accident or if you had a life threatening injury, and you had the opportunity to pick the paramedic that you would like to have come to that call," Lopinto said, "he would be right on the top of your list.

    "He's very competent at what he does, and he's very easy going," Lopinto said. "So this came as a surprise to all of us."

    Lopinto said that under normal circumstances, yelling profanities at an injured person's family could be "a career ending move" for a paramedic.

    But Lopinto says the circumstances were extenuating because "they're getting surrounded by people that are scared and angry and yelling and screaming, and they're trying to do a job that they know they have to do in order to save this boy."

    Lopinto said that Bartlett and other rescue workers feared for their lives.

    "They knew that the Sheriff's Office at that point in time did not have a significant enough amount of deputies to control this crowd if they were to become violent," he said.

    But Lopinto said he also understands the crowd's hostility.

    "These people were looking at their loved one or friend in a life threatening situation," Lopinto said. "They were upset and angry about why it happened . . . and upset with us because we weren't doing exactly what they thought we should have been doing at the time."

    But Lopinto said the investigation showed Bartlett and Lamanna did everything they could to care for Reed.

    "I have no question about the fact that we were giving him the highest quality patient care that could have been provided in that situation," he said. "Absolutely and without question."

    Sylvia Coleman, Reed's aunt who was at the accident scene, said she was satisfied with the reprimand.

    "It's fair, as long as he's punished," she said in her Trilby home. "I don't want him to lose his job. I just want him to learn a lesson."

    With all the yelling and screaming that day, she added, she could see how Bartlett would have become upset and feared for his safety.

    Lopinto also said that the rescue unit's response time, which an account of radio transmissions shows to have been 13 minutes, was normal for the Tri-Community area.

    Pasco County's average countywide response time for 2002 was 6 minutes and 47 seconds.

    Lopinto said he hopes to improve response times for the area during the next couple of years by merging the Tri-Community's volunteer fire department with Pasco County Fire Rescue. It is the only volunteer fire station that has not at least begun merging with the county's system.

    A separate investigation by the Sheriff's Office exonerated Deputy John Ardolino, who was pursuing Reed when he crashed and was the first to arrive at the scene.

    According to the sheriff's report, Reed's left ankle was hooked on his car's antenna. Ardolino put a handcuff on Reed's left hand. After checking Reed for breathing and pulse and finding none, Ardolino began giving Reed chest compressions. After several compressions, Reed began trying to breathe.

    Ardolino checked again for a pulse and found one. He unhooked Reed's leg and laid him on the ground beside the car, the report said.

    "Deputy Ardolino acted completely within the boundaries and scopes of policies, procedures and general orders," sheriff's spokesman Jon Powers said.

    - Staff writer Saundra Amrhein contributed to this report.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  • #2
    Ever happened to you?

    While I do believe that professionalism is a major element of this job, we are also human beings. If the situation is correctly described, and the medics were indeed in the middle of an esclating situation, and keeping in mind I'm not sure exactly what was said, I don't see anything wrong with what he did. How many times have the cops told someone to "get the f*ck on the ground" or refer to someone as a "sh*thead" in their presence and nothing has been mentioned about it. Now, don't confuse me with someone who thinks that is right. I'm just thinking about a double standard. You can only ask someone politely so many times to back away and let you do your job before you have to go to the next level to get their attention. Unfortunately, that level may involve profanity. I believe the city did right by taking into account the circumstances and reducing the punishment, but the punishment should be abated altogether. Don't punish a guy for doing his job.
    Life is only temporary, but freedom goes on forever. God bless those who gave all.


    • #3

      I don't think this guy deserves a "day off". The entire crowd should have been bussed to county jail for a free night's lodging. People die when stuff like this goes down, and we shouldn't tolerate unruly behavior on an emergency scene, (read threats, interference) by onlookers. We don't here, and we get our share in some areas.
      Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
      In memory of
      Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
      Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

      IACOJ Budget Analyst

      I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



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