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Command & Leadership, EMS

A Day with MotorCop Part 1

As we mentioned in the audio Crossover recently, and Mike “Fossil Medic” Ward noted while monitoring twitter, I went on a ride-along with the Po-Po a Go-Go to see what his job really entails and if his outrageous stories are even remotely true.  In the first 10 minutes I learned 2 things.  Police Sergeants are like Paramedic Captains and cops are just like Paramedics.

This will be a …murrphen… part series sharing my experiences from the front seat of the traffic car, since the bike proved unsteady with me holding onto one of the saddle bags.

Part 1-

After watching the Giants win the World Series and having friends over to bottle my first home brew, the alarm at 4:30 am was a shock.

I was up early to meet my buddy Motorcop for a day on the traffic beat of his agency.  I knew we would be out catching speeders and seat belt violators, but I had no idea how similar the jobs are in most other ways.

As we pulled into the yard at the police station I saw the cars lined up, just like our ambulances are, waiting for someone to come and claim them for a shift.

Inside he had to hang up his signature Motor equipment and slum it in a car to allow me to come along.  As he scanned the key chains I could hear him muttering under his breath.  No doubt he was doing the same thing we do: “No, 99 has no heater, 88’s seats don’t recline, 74 is never comfortable, OH 55!” and he grabs the keys and we’re out into the cold morning air to check the car and give me my safety briefing.

The briefing consisted of where to stand on a traffic stop, how to call for help if he can not (call sign, location, code for real help) and of course, how to release and fire the shotgun should the need arise.  This was a big thing for me, as most of you know, but should the you know what land you know where and my friend in immediate danger my finger would find the release and that weapon would be in my hands.

He must have seen me going through this in my head because he smiled and told me we needed to get back inside for line up.  This is their morning briefing and meeting and the comments, attitudes and colorful language is nothing different than you hear at the table in the morning at the firehouse or while checking in at the ambulance yard.

The Sergeant came in and gave a briefing about suspects to look for, hazards, then a colorful diatribe about what goals were to be expected for the day, everyday.  It reminded me of the motivational speech by Harry Fishbine in the opening of Mother, Jugs & Speed.  He more or less told them to get out there and do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Motorcop is a man on a mission when it comes to his morning duties.  We checked the car, the ticket book and were off to coffee first thing.

After our coffee it was less than 100ft of travel before a bicycle ran a stop sign directly in front of us.  The lights came on and the siren yelped as the biker pulled to the side of the road and waited for a talking to.

When Motorcop came back he ran the ID and considered what to do.  He could cite the rider for a clear violation of the vehicle code, unsafe riding, or simply give him a warning and let him go.  Even though the law is clear, he has the authority and trust to make an informed decision that is best for the citizen and the agency.

What did he decide?  I’ll tell you soon along with what happened to get Motorcop giggling like my 4 year old daughter.

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20 Comments

  1. Dani November 3, 2010 8:19 pm

    Can’t wait for Part 2! 😀

  2. Dani November 3, 2010 8:19 pm

    Can’t wait for Part 2! 😀

  3. Anonymous November 4, 2010 12:44 am

    You’re going to torture us by doing this in parts!!!!

  4. Anonymous November 4, 2010 12:44 am

    You’re going to torture us by doing this in parts!!!!

  5. Medic999 November 4, 2010 8:11 am

    SO very jealous!
    I missed my chance last time I was in SF. One day……..

    Although I imagine that you two together and like me and one of the guys I work with. Sometimes you have to remember you have a job to do in between all of the laughing!

  6. Medic999 November 4, 2010 8:11 am

    SO very jealous!
    I missed my chance last time I was in SF. One day……..

    Although I imagine that you two together and like me and one of the guys I work with. Sometimes you have to remember you have a job to do in between all of the laughing!

  7. Rescue Monkey November 4, 2010 12:26 pm

    Interesting, so if Motorcop was in immediate danger you had permission to use the shotgun? That’s very unlike an ambulance ride-a-long. You cannot even think about helping if it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.

    • Joe Paczkowski November 5, 2010 5:50 am

      I think there’s more than a slight difference between a patient actively trying to die and a bad guy actively trying to kill. Also, while plenty of related jobs and professions (not just EMS, LEO, fire) share similar traits, none are going to be 100% the same.

    • Unalaskafire November 5, 2010 5:26 pm

      I’ve been on both sides of the fence…actually three sides? I was a cop, a LEO/Medic and am now a full time EMS Captain who still keeps “in the door” as a Tactical Medic. I take ride alongs fairly regularly and, if things go south and the only other hands available are unskilled I have and will use them to bag, do compressions or hand me gear. Guess things differ from town to town. Keep up the hard work and keep it safe!

  8. Rescue Monkey November 4, 2010 12:26 pm

    Interesting, so if Motorcop was in immediate danger you had permission to use the shotgun? That’s very unlike an ambulance ride-a-long. You cannot even think about helping if it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.

    • Joe Paczkowski November 5, 2010 5:50 am

      I think there’s more than a slight difference between a patient actively trying to die and a bad guy actively trying to kill. Also, while plenty of related jobs and professions (not just EMS, LEO, fire) share similar traits, none are going to be 100% the same.

    • Unalaskafire November 5, 2010 5:26 pm

      I’ve been on both sides of the fence…actually three sides? I was a cop, a LEO/Medic and am now a full time EMS Captain who still keeps “in the door” as a Tactical Medic. I take ride alongs fairly regularly and, if things go south and the only other hands available are unskilled I have and will use them to bag, do compressions or hand me gear. Guess things differ from town to town. Keep up the hard work and keep it safe!

  9. FireMedic November 4, 2010 3:59 pm

    I’ve done ride a longs with my best friend who works for the CHP. What you say is so true. They are just like us. It also amazes me what stupid people do in front of cops.

  10. FireMedic November 4, 2010 3:59 pm

    I’ve done ride a longs with my best friend who works for the CHP. What you say is so true. They are just like us. It also amazes me what stupid people do in front of cops.

  11. Sean Eddy November 4, 2010 4:13 pm

    Yea I did a Sheriff’s ride-a-long and got the “if I’m in danger” briefing. I guess if all hell breaks loose then all bets are off.

  12. Sean Eddy November 4, 2010 4:13 pm

    Yea I did a Sheriff’s ride-a-long and got the “if I’m in danger” briefing. I guess if all hell breaks loose then all bets are off.

  13. Shirrelle J November 4, 2010 11:09 pm

    looking good……..I’m impatient…..

  14. Shirrelle J November 4, 2010 11:09 pm

    looking good……..I’m impatient…..

  15. The Grumpy Dispatcher November 5, 2010 1:26 am

    Love this, hope it is a continuing series. Is MC eventually going to ride with you on the engine, too?

  16. The Grumpy Dispatcher November 5, 2010 1:26 am

    Love this, hope it is a continuing series. Is MC eventually going to ride with you on the engine, too?

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