MONTECITO, Calif. - The California Highway Patrol is investigating why a firefighter was handcuffed for refusing to move a fire engine from a freeway in Santa Barbara County.

CHP Capt. Jeff Sgobba says the incident on Feb. 15 was rare, regrettable and embarrassing.

The confrontation took place in Montecito when CHP officers responded to a freeway crash that caused minor injuries.

Sgobba says arriving Montecito firefighters blocked the fast lane with an engine to shield responding authorities from traffic.

Sgobba says a CHP officer ordered the rig moved and handcuffed a fire battalion chief who refused. The firefighter was released when a CHP supervisor arrived a short time later.

No charges have been filed.


Information from: Santa Barbara News-Press,

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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In Ohio the FD has complete control over the scene until we turn it over to the PD. We get out of there as fast as we can safely once we are done with our jobs. They don't always like it and tell us, too bad. We are also protecting their nice little white cars.
I have a question that needs to be addressed. Didn't they cover all this at trooper school? It said he was a new trooper maybe he needs to be brought back and retrained.
WOW, This kinda stuff is really irritating!!!
I'm in Ontario Canada and can only speak of what I know has happened here. The LEOs have the final say but in most cases consult and agree with 0ur officers. I have only experienced one incident when a new officer told us to move a tanker further over onto the shoulder. He was advised this was unsafe due to the weight of the vehicle. He accepted this after a while but then wrote a citation for an illegal exhaust system on the same truck. The ticket was later cancelled by his supervisor who had a very red face and I'm told he walked foot patrol in a Siberia like setting for awhile. Mostly we get along and run a unified command.
Maybe CHP needs to start running vehicles fully equiped to handle "ALL" incidents. That way they don't even need the fire dept out on the highways. That way we don't have to worry about firefighter safety on the highways.
Just settle for a cop without an ego. We'll keep the extrications.
I think Charles was in the Firehouse report data entry mode at the station which requires the cap lock to be activated for some operating systems... It's all good...

Watching the local news last night, I noted that if all the folks involved had it there way, this whole thing would have disappeared as fast as one of FFJR Poser Frederick's posts...

One aggressive CHP motor officer, although possibly being technically right, was not up to date on local protocols regarding blocking only one out of the two lanes to enable traffic to keep on moving. Tempers flared, and the cop was the one with the handcuffs... As soon as the CHP supervisor got on scene, the handcuff's were ordered to be taken off and apologies started.

This was an exception to the rule with the CHP's and fire department's for my county where this incident occurred. Having worked in the field for the past 37 years, coupled with my wife working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I have heard all the stories about confrontations and arguments on scene.

This whole thing was a mistake that should have stayed on scene and not worldwide on the internet, but it did, so it's important to get the facts straight to let folks know that this was a giant mistake.

No one here on the FFN or in the fire service can do anything but tip their hat to the Battalion Chief that felt strong enough about protecting his crew and the patients to allow himself to get arrested and handcuffed, more than likely knowing that as soon as the supervisor arrived, the cuffs would come off. He was indeed arrested because with the same photo now being shown on the television last night that showed the BC leaning up against the guardrail, handcuffed...

But guess what? And I am absolutely making a wild guess here, but I know the BC in question for over 30 years... He's sharp. This whole "deal with the BC thing" bought the guys working the MVA time to do their job, and protect the victims with his engine that was blocking a lane. By the time the supervisor arrived and the handcuffs were removed, I bet the patients were being taken away by ambulance and the tow trucks were ready to clear the roadway...

This is what a competent Battalion Chief does for their engine companies. It's what we all do for one another. That's why it is called a brotherhood.

Seems like this is more common place. I don't know why this is happening, I just wish one of the LEO's who have done this, would explain themselves.
• Why was the Battalion Chief concerned?

• Why would he want to block the roadway?

• Just what was he thinking?


BTW I talked to the other shift's Capt a couple days after this. The driver that hit E-44 was, surprise surprise, a DUI. The engineer suffered minor injuries but volunteered for an OT shift the next day. I think this rig is still OOS.

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