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DC firefighters again assigned to overnight crime watch posts. Latest order came from deputy mayor.


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Previous coverage of soft postings

Paul Wagner, WTTG-TV/FOX 5:

A small group of D.C. firefighters has been given the unusual assignment of sitting in their trucks at specific intersections in the city in an effort to deter crime.

Since last Friday, an engine company and a truck company from the Trinidad section of Northeast D.C. have been ordered out of their firehouse in the overnight hours and take up what is called a "soft post" on the street.

DC soft post

According to an internal document obtained by FOX 5, the order to deploy out from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. didn't come from the fire chief or the police chief. Instead, the directive came from Paul Quander, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, who told supervisors he wanted written verification the firefighters had carried out the order and the "soft postings" as they are called would continue until further notice.

The firehouse on Florida Avenue, NE, is one of the busiest, if not the busiest in the city. It is called “House of Pain” and it is where Engine 10 and Truck 13 are stationed.

But instead of being in the firehouse resting up between calls on Monday morning at 1 a.m., Truck 13 was sitting in the 1500 block of Levis Street, NE, with its engine idling.

The driver and the firefighters were under orders to sit there unless dispatched to an emergency.

Tim Wilson, a spokesperson for the fire department confirmed the assignment, saying, “These units were 'soft posted' as part of a crime deterrent initiative in the Trinidad area that has proven to be an effective tool in the past.”

But Ed Smith, the President of the Firefighters Union, and Kris Baumann, with the Fraternal Order of Police, think otherwise.

Smith in a statement saying, "Not only are my members not trained as police officers they are not properly equipped to handle police matters, yet could be called upon to become involved in various situations that place's them in harm's way!”

With Baumann adding, "I don't think it's a deterrent. I think it's another public relations ploy, gimmick, whatever you want to call it. You've got a mayor who is under criminal investigation, who has a terrible record with first responders, the fire department’s a mess, the police department is a mess, and this is more show. There is no substance here.”

Baumann also wonders if this is being done because the police department doesn't have the resources for adequate patrols.

Tommy Wells, a candidate for mayor and the chairman of the council’s public safety committee, wasn't sure what to make of the plan.

"Well, I would need to know more about this instance,” said Wells. “What they are being asked to do. But let me say our firefighters are called on to do the most extraordinary things every single day. They haven’t had a pay increase in six or seven years, yet they continue to show up for work, and if they are asked to do something for the city, be in crime prevention, I know that they would do it.”

This so called "soft posting" has been tried before. In the summer of 2011, the deputy mayor told reporters the police picked as many as 14 locations throughout the city.

We reached out to D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier to see if she asked the deputy mayor for help, but a spokesperson declined to say, instead telling FOX 5 the police department does not discuss tactics and operations.

Multiple sources tell FOX 5 that Engine 10 and Truck 13 were the only companies in the city asked to spend the overnight hours out on the street.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Pipeman27

    Quander is a douchebag

  • JustSayin’

    These professional FFs better do some careful planning concerning their parking locations.

    The neighbors may not appreciate a stinking diesel idling under their window only to go roaring off

    and then come back later to repeat the process.  

    Of course, stinky diesels may be an upgrade from roving bands of thugs.


    Another thought … may be time to invest in some Kevlar for the members.

    With the appropriate patch, of course.


    Now we know that not only does King FEMS operate in a retaliatory childlike manner, but so doesn’t Miss Quander…get in and buckle up because we have one more year to drive this agency into the ground….

    Mr. Wells…with all due respect, how much more do you need to know..I realize you’re in full campaign mode, but this is not only absurd, but also beyond retaliatory….Sorry your feelings were hurt by the IG’s report, but that’s your fault…so in turn, lets all of a sudden and out of the blue put T13 in the 1500 block of Levis Street because that will deter a crime from ocurring in the 1200 block of Simms Place or any other part of the Trinidad neighborhood..right Paul…hopefully the men of T13 got a good nap in…’re the epitome of what a worthless spineless incompetent turd is…Hopefully karma catches up soon and flushes you & the other two pieces of feces down the toilet..

    • Edmond Dantes

      Keep up the Good Fight Hook! Merry Christmas to you and the rest of DCFD!

  • Old Guy

    This action may be in violation of this DC regulation. In the true sense this is not a vehicle for hire. This reg appears to be an attempt to reduce air pollution in the city. Food for thought!  Oh, I must be confused this is the District and the idiots in charge make the rules as they go


    District of Columbia Municipal Regulations

    Title 20

    Sec. 900.1

    The engine of a gasoline of diesel powered motor vehicle, the engine of a public vehicle for hire, including buses with a seating capacity of twelve (12) or more persons, on public or private space shall not idle for more than three (3) minutes while the motor vehicle is parked, stopped, or standing, including for the purpose of operating air conditioning equipment in those vehicles, except as follows:

    (a) To operate private passenger vehicles;

    (b) To operate power takeoff equipment including, dumping, cement mixers,

    refrigeration systems, content delivery, winches, or shredders; or

    (c) To idle the engine for five (5) minutes to operate heating equipment when the ambient air temperature is thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit (32°F) or below.

    Sec. 914.1

    Each person who fails to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter prevents any inspection authorized by this chapter, or keeps inaccurate records shall be punished by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

    Sec. 914.2

    Each violation of, or failure to comply with, this chapter shall constitute a separate offense and the penalties described in §914.1 shall be applicable to each separate offense.

  • Poloworkshirt

    Quander does not like the firemen, and this is just his way of seeking revenge on them, both white and black.

  • Anonymous

    retaliation pure and simple

  • Ol Skool 86

    Retalion again…..someone at E10 snitched to daddy about something and now they are being singled out..we now we have a surplus of FF's to waste on crime watch? I thought we were short FF? 

    Holy cow, I hope no one from E25 was injured today when they we in the cross fire at barry farms during "soft post" Santa community present give away. Yes Santa was shot during event…merry Xmas everyone!

  • Anonymous

    So, Paul quander wants to be a Superior Ct Judge?  I say good riddins'.  First, he was so stupid to listen to Kenzin (the Fire Chief) and now he is so stupid as to make his own decisions.  Pick either a) he doesn't have a clue or b) he hates the DC Firefighters so much because of a. they turned their backs on the FC c). they must hate EMS because Kenny Lyons says so d). they are a good ole' boy club that needs to be taken down a notch (because he again doesn't have a clue that those days are long gone. Any way you take it he wants to stick it to the Firefighters.  He is a man who has never been in a buring building, rode on an ambulance, let alone become a parmedic, nor has the skill set to run public safety in the Nation's Capitol but he is the man IC.  It is disgusting.

  • Boots

    The clusterf#%& that is the government of the District of Columbia……well at least you can't blame this on the White House…..the management of this city is disgusting

  • CareerLt

    This sets a very dangerous precedent. The public views the firemen as helpers. Years ago a SWAT commander wanted to send in SWAT members to a dwelling dressed as firemen because the public, and criminals, view firemen as non aggressive and nuetral. The minute firemen are placed in a crime fighting, crime deterent or intevention of criminal activity mode, the minute we are placed in an adversarial role with the public

  • bosshog25

    either way ellerbe you suck as a chief that idiot you hired as your "second in command" he sucks also, Why don't you do something positive and help the brothers of DCFD? Wasn't it just last week a certain truck went out of service and you told them to put a water supply company in service instead trying to fix the problem that day…..yea good job bung hole

  • ghengis khan

    You all are ever so brave when it comes to bloggin. How is it that you have so much to say here, but given the opportunity to speak infront of the man (FC) it’s crickets.

    Personally I don’t agree with the soft posting initiative, but 10 Engine has been F’n up lately…from hazing to damn near burning the house down.

    Quander doesn’t have to sit on a rig or run into a burning bldg, he’s at the top of the food chain…:e give the order and you do it.

    Some give the police union head his meds before he speak or post…lol

  • Anonymous

    "Quander doesn’t have to sit on a rig or run into a burning bldg, he’s at the top of the food chain…:e give the order and you do it."

    An un-elected, non-promoted, in-experienced loon running public safety in the Nation's Capitol?  

    Just follow the order … that's what the good ole' boys used to say, and look what kind of culture it created.

    If this stuff was going on in FDNY, there would be a thousand sets of turnout gear on the steps of city hall!

    BTW, many have tired to speak to the FC.    As, ghengis already knows, he has an agenda, and he ain't gonna '  listen to anybody who differs from it.  



  • Slim Shady

    The outsiders and retired guys on this blog have NO IDEA, the amount of racisim and degradation going on in the department on a daily basis. Chief Ellerbe is the most racist, hateful person I have ever come accross in my life. We have a fire chief who hates his employees, PERIOD!

    Make no mistake about it, the shift change BS is nothing more then a way to get rid of the white guys who live outside the city, PERIOD!

    Mr. Wells, why not look at the disciplinary actions over the past 3 years? Look at the hiring process, or lack there of over the past 3 years?

    Mr. Wells, I once loved my job! I could not wait to come to work! As a professional, I still do my job to the best of my ability, but without the passion and enthusiasm I once had. Chief Ellerbe, and mayor Grey have createde this atmosphere.I assure you I speak for a majority of F/F's who feel the same way.. We are dying out here, and nobody cares. DO SOMETHING!!!  PLEASE!!!!!

  • Chris James

    This is ridiculous. Period.