Sacramento Metro Fire department defends legality of firefighter who did traffic stop on citizen. Sheriff disagrees.

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My first reaction after reading the statement above from Captain Chris Quinn of Sacramento Metro Fire defending a veteran fire official who did a traffic stop on a citizen was “really?”. Is this really the policy of Sacramento Metro Fire or is it a knee jerk defensive reaction to potentially bad publicity? The spokesman also said they won’t be investigating this incident. 

My second thought was if this is really the department’s policy shouldn’t someone do an on-camera interview defending it and explaining to the public in a little more detail this whole concept of firefighters doing traffic stops? Shouldn’t the public be clued in on this so they won’t have the reaction that Patrick Brosnan did when he was stopped?

I encourage you to watch the TV story from KTXL (click here). Pay close attention to the on-camera interview with a spokesman from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s. The department runs the Rancho Cordova police department and has jurisdiction where this occurred. Three Sacramento County Sheriff deputies backed up the traffic stop. Sgt. Jason Ramos said in general and not specifically about this incident, “Doesn’t seem like a proper course of action or a lawful detention on the part of that individual.”  The sergeant added, “they’re not vested with that authority.”


“He swore at me as soon as he got out of the car … ‘what the f— do you think you’re doing back there,’” he (Patrick Brosnan) said. 

Making a statement for the department, Metro Fire Captain Chris Quinn said Brosnan was driving “extremely dangerously.”

Three Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies were called in by the firefighter, who left the traffic stop soon after they arrived.

They gave Brosnan a field sobriety test, but found nothing wrong.

“They said, ‘We didn’t see you do anything. We can’t charge you based on what he said, even though he’s a fireman,’” Brosnan claims. 

According to Brosnan, he got an abrupt response when questioning the stop.  “He was like, ‘You’re gonna get f-ing arrested,” Brosnan said.

The sheriff’s department has a very different take on what could have happened during that Saturday stop.

“With respect to that person deciding to not submit to the authority and take off, they wouldn’t necessarily be criminally liable,” he said.

Arson investigators have police powers and firefighters controlling traffic at accident scenes have limited police authority.

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