A Bradenton, Florida police officer responded to a February 911 dispatch call reporting a shooting in a private residence. But it took her longer to arrive that a number of other officers in her department.
The responding officer apparently drove at normal traffic speeds to the scene (no lights, siren or urgency) because, “…it was to me an issue of getting more information to…determine the severity of the incident.” That seems to be her standard operating procedures when responding to emergency calls.
Officer Amy Schwartz told internal affairs investigators she usually doesn’t activate her lights and sirens unless “there’s an officer down.” …
Instead, Schwartz drove below the speed limit at times, stopped multiple times for traffic lights and stop signs and even pulled over as her own sergeant passed her by with his lights and sirens, according to the internal affairs report.
When confronted by her sergeant at the crime scene, Schwartz said she never responds in emergency mode unless another officer is down or asks for help, according to the report.
Reports of mere civilians in danger apparently don’t rise to the level of an emergency in Officer Schwartz’s book. It seems that, in Bradenton, more than most locations, you really are your own first responder.
Schwartz has not been terminated despite four violations of the department’s general orders being sustained against her for which she could have been fired. Instead, Bradenton police suspended Schwartz for 100 hours without pay, referred her to counseling and ordered her to undergo on-going training at the direction of Chief of Police Melanie Bevan over the course of 18 months, according to a June 14 dated memo addressed to the 15-year veteran officer.
Schwartz has since returned to work.
That must be a real comfort to Bradentonians.