Letters: Should emergency workers be armed?

Johnson City Press • Mar 24, 2019 at 6:00 AM

We asked with Monday’s Question of the Week if you thought firefighters and emergency medical personnel should carry firearms while on duty. Here are some of your responses to that question and other topics of interest.

We are not police

I am heavily opposed to arming EMS.

Especially in urban situations, many people do not trust police, and have a tenuous relation with EMS. Being armed would degrade that trust.

A lot of my coworkers should never be armed.

I am not a police officer. I could make more money as a cop, but I don't want to shoot anyone.

Having a gun on the ambulance makes us a target for violence because someone may call 911 with the intent to get our guns.

And this is the big one, we, from day one, have it in our head to ensure the scene is safe before entering. We are not police, and charging into an unsafe scene with the delusion of being a hero is irresponsible. I've had situations deteriorate outside and inside my ambulance, but we have been able to diffuse the situation without violence. I know many people who would have resorted to violence.

We are not police.


It makes sense in certain cases

To get a good background on this subject I called my son who is a fireman and paramedic in a metropolitan area. He surprised me, because he said it might be a good idea but that the only person who should carry a gun in his area would be the driver who does not go into the fire.

A fireman at a fire might have trouble keeping the gun out of the way. He also suggested that a fireman carrying a gun might be useful in a rural area since police backup may be some distance and time away.

In his metropolitan area police backup would be fairly immediate so carrying a gun may not always be necessary or useful. I guess it depends on where you are and how quickly police assistance can be expected.


Questioning pre-trial detention reform

Having served on regular jury and the grand jury in the past, I have seen one aspect of people being released either after posting bond or being released for whatever reason until their court date. That aspect is called FTA or Failure to Appear warrants. A considerable amount of time at the end of the grand jury session would be taken up reviewing and signing off on these FTAs. There would be anywhere from 30 to 40 or more of these warrants.

An FTA in some cases was probably a more serious offense than the one the person was originally charged with. Now the person has another charge and which of course adds additional costs, not to mention now an already overworked law enforcement now has the task of trying to locate them. Of course if they received their bond through a bail bondsman it is my understanding he would assist in rounding them up so to speak. Generally these guys are not as friendly as law enforcement. Just saying.

Another question is what level of violation would be eligible for citation only? Are we talking minor drug possession, reckless driving, jaywalking and first offense only?

Unfortunately most of these offenders are not on the board of directors at the local bank. Their means of making a living are usually not unlimited. Of course everybody makes mistakes regardless of their station in life. Maybe giving them a second chance without jail time until trial date would wake them up. And then again maybe not.

Either way incarceration is both a burden on taxpayers and big business at the same time. Sort of reminds me of higher education.


Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

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