Thursday, October 06, 2005

FEMA steps on its crank 
Here's a state of affairs only a mindless hyperlegal bureaucrat moron could love:

The Phoenix Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team has been suspended from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for deploying armed police officers to protect firefighters in violation of the agency's rules.

As a result, Phoenix officials now are threatening to refuse some of the most dangerous deployments in the future or possibly even pull out of the federal agency altogether, unless the rules are changed to allow teams to bring their own security, even if that means police with guns.

FEMA has been the target of widespread criticism for its perceived slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan said his department also is questioning the federal agency's ability to manage working conditions, security and communications.

"Our priority has to be the safety of the firefighters we're sending," Khan said.

At issue is a rule in FEMA's Code of Conduct that prohibits Urban Search and Rescue teams from having firearms. Phoenix's team that deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief and again for Hurricane Rita included four police officers deputized as U.S. marshals.

Phoenix police were added to the team about a year ago, and officials say they are essential to protecting firefighters and FEMA's $1.4 million worth of equipment. Firefighters do not carry weapons.

"This is crazy," Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said Monday. "This is a rule that was designed before the world changed, pre-9/11. You can't stand on bureaucracy if we're going to protect and save lives, and that's what these teams do."

Someone with some authority needs to step in and fix this stupidity. No military commander would accept a mission in which his troops went into harms way without even rudimentary means of defending themselves. This idiocy wouldn't fly in the Rodney King riots (yes, Kos, I was there, too!), and it wouldn't fly in Homestead in 92 (I was not there but my current unit was and it was all they talked about until the Iraq War shut them up, thank God), and it obviously didn't fly in New Orleans.

If I were the mayors of these towns, I wouldn't send shit until FEMA got its head out of its ass.

Mr. President, here's a good chance to show some common sense leadership, if FEMA and Cherntoff won't.

That't what happens when you give lawyers authority, I guess. They'll risk total mission failure to avoid potential liability and think that's a good trade.

Splash, out



Our advisors in El Salvador weren't allowed weapons in the 80s nor on numerous UN ops in the 90s. The Feds don't like guns; just look at the conniption airline pilots have to carry a piece.
Your analysis on liability is correct
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Semper Fi!

Bill Adams
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