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Police, Firefighters Clash Once Again

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  • Police, Firefighters Clash Once Again

    Police, Firefighters Clash Once Again;
    Newtown Creek rescue attempt probed

    Copyright 2003 Newsday, Inc.
    Newsday (New York)
    July 11, 2003 Friday QUEENS EDITION

    Police and fire rescuers clashed once again this week as top specialists from both services tried to save a homeless man who had jumped into Newtown Creek on the Queens/Brooklyn border.
    Firefighters said police officers with the Harbor Unit recklessly threw a grappling hook into the creek Wednesday night despite shouts from firefighters that one of their divers was in the water.

    The firefighters said one of their divers, William Murphy, who was underwater, had his face mask ripped off by the rope attached to the hook and that he swallowed water from the murky creek.

    The man they were trying to find was Frederick Darling, 54, a Vietnam veteran who lived at a shelter nearby on Borden Avenue that serves homeless veterans. Darling's body was recovered later.
    The latest instance of the ages-old "battle of the badges" again involved Rescue 4, an elite Fire Department unit based in Woodside.

    Two weeks ago, a firefighter from Rescue 4 was arrested when police objected to his presence in a Queens restaurant where a burglar had gotten trapped in a chimney.

    This time, Rescue 4 had its diver in the water trying to find Darling.

    A report from fire Capt. Joseph Callan said the Harbor Unit officers not only ignored firefighters' shouts that one of their divers was in the water, but also responded with a vulgarity.

    "The Harbor Unit at this operation displayed no cooperation or regard for anyone else's safety, and because of this placed an FDNY member's life in danger," Callan said in a report to FDNY Chief of Operations Salvatore Cassano.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the incident involved "a very serious charge" and did not offer any information to contradict the Fire Department report.

    "I didn't hear about this until late this [Thursday] morning," the police commissioner said. "I've directed a thorough investigation to go forward. I really have nothing more to say on this because we had no indication that this was anything but a well-run operation."

    Kelly acknowledged the long-running feud between the departments, referring to it as "some friction."

    "They're both motivated," Kelly said of the police Harbor Unit and the fire unit. "They're highly trained; they want to use their expertise in the best possible way. We have to continue to communicate that."

    "They're clearly the best Fire Department in the world," Kelly said. "We have great respect for them. We have to work cooperatively and collaboratively."

    Staff writers William Murphy and Sean Gardiner contributed to this story.

    This will never end. Each agency needs to pick a roll.
    This space for rent

  • #2
    dont even know what to say there
    youd think everything would go smooth but we dont have to deal with the units like that here, only police we see are in cars and only see them at car wrecks


    • #3
      Here is another interesting tidbit from the annals of GWCFI's interesting life:

      In 1985, I was the case agent in a case which involved the recovery of about 35 cars from two locations in the Hudson River on the Jersey City waterfront. We utilized the resources of the NYPD Harbor Unit for about 4 weeks for this purpose. All the vehicles were reported stolen and were part of an organized ring.

      One day, the Lt. from the Harbor Unit was near my car on the pier and saw my volly gear in the trunk. A string of four-letter words came out about FF and he tried to throw me in the Hudson. Thank God cooler heads prevailed. He did not talk to me for the remainder of the job. When I asked his guys, who were cool, about this, they stated that it was all about the FDNY and their divers.

      The more things change, the more they remain the same.


      • #4
        If NYC wants to save money, They should close down the ESU trucks. Having Rescue companies and the ESU rigs are a duplication of services.


        • #5
          I refuse to slam the NYPD. What I will say is, whomever made the decision to throw a grappling hook into an area with a known, tethered, rescue diver, should be removed from a position of ever making a decision like this again. I'm not calling for his job, just a more suitable assignment.

          An analogy:

          I arrive at a heavily involved, 4 story, structure fire. There are 5 police cars on scene. One is blocking my hydrant and the others are clogging the front of the building. Fire is out the windows on 3 floors and I am approached by a PD officer and advised that several police officers are in the building conducting a search.

          I radio my ECC and tell him to charge our Stang and direct the stream into the windows.

          When all is said and done, I should be hung out to dry for this decision!

          Any argument?


          • #6
            Artie...I think I get your point. I was hoping you could shed some inside light on this.

            This "turf war" has to go deeper than the folks on those units.

            It is sad that two of the largest Departments in our nation can not play in the same sandbox together.
            09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
            IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
            "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
            BMI Investigator
            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.


            • #7
              It is sad that two of the largest Departments in our nation can not play in the same sandbox together.
              98% of the time we work as a team. 2% of the time we clash and that 2% makes up 98% of the headlines. (Fuzzy Math?)


              • #8
                I have to agree with trkco1...what exactly is the reason for having what are essentially diametrically opposed agencies doing the same job? If budgets are tight, and we all know they are, eliminate the duplication and return all rescue functions to the fire department.

                To be honest I always figured the ESU guys were frustrated wannbe firefighters. Maybe I'm wrong with that assumption. heck i have been wrong before.

                Crazy, but that's how it goes
                Millions of people living as foes
                Maybe it's not too late
                To learn how to love, and forget how to hate


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FyredUp

                  To be honest I always figured the ESU guys were frustrated wannbe firefighters.

                  I posted a question about the ESU/Rescue Co. situation a while back. Here is the link:
                  God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
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                  Click this to search FH Forums!


                  • #10
                    i dont think the ESU should be disbanded all together. they do more than just rescue. they're also the equivalent of a SWAT team, among other things. the duplicated services shoudl be terminated, not the whole ESU.


                    • #11
                      To be honest I always figured the ESU guys were frustrated wannbe firefighters.
                      I thought that was every cop.


                      • #12
                        To be honest I always figured the ESU guys were frustrated wannbe firefighters.
                        And here I thought they were firefighters that wanted to carry guns!
                        "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


                        • #13

                          I'm totally amazed that folks in the nation's largest city would work so hard to supply material for these forums And Artie, the math makes sense, sadly enough. (kinda like most paid/vollie tiffs) Stay Safe....
                          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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