D.C.’s fire chief has known for at least a year that dashboard cameras on many of the department’s engines, trucks and ambulances do not work. It is an issue that came to light after one of the fire department’s engines was involved in a deadly crash earlier this month and the dash camera onboard the vehicle did not record the collision.
Multiple sources within the fire department said D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean and his deputies knew about issues with the cameras. However, for whatever reason, they did do anything about it until this past January when a contractor was hired to take a close look at the program.
Last week, the fire department said in a news release that having working cameras on all of the units has been “unintentionally uneven” over the years. On Monday, Dabney Hudson, the president of the District’s firefighter’s union, said he knows Chief Dean knew about this issue because he talked to him about it.
“Similar reaction to everything – he has no good answer, he has no reason for it,” said Hudson. “We had a discipline hearing not too long ago where two fire trucks collided and they couldn’t get the cameras from either one of those. I brought this to his attention. It was unconscionable then and this was before the incident with Engine 26.”