Reader Nadra Enzi writes:
As respect for police devolves, it isn’t outlandish to consider issuing protection to EMTs and firefighters. It’s no longer a given that their status as unarmed life savers negates targeting by criminals and terrorists. The Fergueson Effect era of ambushing police officers forces all public safety professions to reassess policies on weaponry. Hopefully ambulances and fire engines won’t need trained members riding shotgun, but who can say?
Some medics already wear body armor when risk demands it. The day may arise when their peers and fire fighters must stand guard while colleagues work a scene. Fire marshals ( or inspectors ) are a resource which could provide such security. Expanding the “fire police” statutes some states have could facilitate arming EMTs and fire fighters. Certain cities already field public safety professionals cross-trained to perform law enforcement and fire suppression duties.
While unpopular with police and fire unions, this hybrid is offered as a model to quickly examine or dismiss should arming become necessary. I respect unions positions on their professions unique-and separate-functions. Lastly, qualified security officers are an option, given their use by law enforcement agencies to secure government buildings, escort prisoners and guard crime scenes.
The urban civil war script some are scripting backstage may include attacking ambulances, fire engines and station houses. Hardening these targets doesn’t seem unreasonable, especially after considering the alternative. Since police in this scenario will be swamped, it’s logical to contemplate arming emergency medical and fire professionals.
Their lives matter, too and are therefore worth being independently defended.
(This post originally appeared at urbansafetyism.blogspot.com and is reprinted here with permission.)