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Long Beach : Police Escort Policy Rescinded

February 02, 1989

City officials have rescinded a policy recently instituted by the Fire Department to require police escorts for paramedics answering emergency calls along a two-block stretch of Elm Avenue in Long Beach.

The order was reversed in light of a recent incident in which a woman complained that paramedics refused to answer her call to attend to a grandson who was suffering convulsions. She said fire officials told her they could not come until a police escort was available.

Under the policy that started Jan. 1, paramedics would not answer calls on Elm Avenue between 21st and 23rd streets unless they were accompanied by police. Fire Chief Chris Hunter said the policy was instituted by a battalion chief and a deputy chief after two shooting incidents, the latest of which was a New Year's Eve celebration.

City Manager James C. Hankla told the City Council that the policy had been withdrawn and that every area of the city deserves the same emergency response from the Fire Department.

Councilman Clarence Smith, who represents the district where the restriction was applied, said he was disturbed that the Fire Department instituted the policy without notifying the city manager or the council.

Hunter said that he has received assurances from the Police Department that officers will give the highest priority to calls for assistance from the Fire Department. If police are not available, Hunter said paramedics will respond anyway.

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