A confrontation between a police officer and paramedic outside an Ohio bar, captured on bystander video, went viral last week. It started a heated debate about who — if anyone — was at fault, and whether the short glimpse of action was enough to make a judgement about the paramedic or the officer’s actions being appropriate. While the debate raged, the police chief took heat for investigating the incident instead of jumping to a conclusion.
Paramedics and police officers are under constant pressure to be 100 percent correct all of the time. Any mistake or perceived slight can be quickly elevated to speculation of willful wrongdoing or negligence.
A relationship of mutual respect, looking out for one another and understanding the role of other responders is essential for effective joint response. There is an expanding expectation in many communities that police officers are part of an all-hazards response including cardiac arrest, narcotics overdose, behavioral emergency and trauma secondary to assault. In the vast majority of joint response, everything goes well and the exceptions can be learned from, but they should not define the relationship between police and EMS.
Read the full story and my top takeaways for EMTs and paramedics on EMS1.
Also read top takeaways on the same incident from Heather Cotter, PoliceOne senior editor.