San Bernardino firefighters won't respond to calls until police arrive

Because the streets are so dangerous in San Bernardino, crews must wait until there is a police presence before responding

By PoliceOne Staff

SAN BERNADINO, Calif. — Firefighters in San Bernardino will not respond to a call unless there is a police presence because of how dangerous the streets have become.

CBS LA reported firefighters were across the street from a 12-year-old boy who had been shot but waited until police arrived before getting involved.

“As soon as I saw him fall, I called 911 and said, ‘Oh, my gosh, a kid has been shot,’” said Elsa Castro, a witness to the shooting of Jason Spears and his cousin.

Castro waited for help to come with Spears, who later died.

“I felt like running over there and just getting one of them and rush them to him,” Castro said.

Because of the new policy, paramedics across the street did not leave the station until police arrived at the scene eight minutes after the call.

“We are definitely prioritizing calls,” said Eileen Hards, with the San Bernardino Police Department.

“There is a lot of crime going on in our city and obviously we want to respond to every call as quickly as possible. But our resources are down, the bankruptcy allowed for some cuts in the department, so we’re slightly understaffed.”

Castro said she believes the firefighters and paramedics should have done more.

“I understand protocol, but work faster and when you hear it’s a kid, just answer the call,” she said.

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