Its About Time: Police Officer Investigated for Arresting Firefighter

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office has launched an investigation into the arrest of a volunteer firefighter by a local police officer.

On March 24, 2014, the firefighter was attending to a sick woman in New Roads, Louisiana when a New Roads police officer arrived on scene and ordered him to move his vehicle. When he refused because he was attending to the patient, he was arrested.

While formal charges were not brought against the firefighter, the firefighter was handcuffed, placed in a police vehicle for 20 minutes, and prevented from administering to the victim. Following the incident, the New Roads police chief declined order any disciplinary action against the police officer, claiming the firefighter gave him a “sarcastic” remark.

The incident sparked the attention of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, who has jurisdiction to investigate anyone who interferes with a firefighter in the performance of his/her duties. Last week Deputy Chief Brant Thompson announced “I have tasked detectives today to begin that investigation. They will be conducting interviews and other information concerning what is seen as a very unfortunate incident that occurred in New Roads.”

Here is the statute: Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:327

§327.  Obstructing a fireman

A.(1)  It shall be unlawful for any person intentionally to obstruct any fireman while in the performance of his official duties.  Obstructing a fireman is hereby defined as intentionally hindering, delaying, hampering, interfering with, or impeding the progress of any regularly employed member of a fire department of any municipality, parish, or fire protection district of the state of Louisiana, or any volunteer fireman of the state of Louisiana while in the performance of his official duties; or cursing, reviling, or using any opprobrious language directed at any such fireman while in the performance of his official duties.

All I can say is – it is about time!!!  No one is above the law.

Here is a link to the laws that the LSFMs office enforces

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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