It’s Not The Crime, It’s The Cover Up

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Richard Nixon learned this lesson the hard way, as did Bill Clinton. Other public figures have learned it the hard way as well.

L.A. fire chief offers new explanation of flawed response times

Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings drew more criticism Tuesday after he offered yet another explanation of how his agency has calculated and reported emergency response times to city officials.

Speaking to the Fire Commission, Cummings said his department used computerized projections of response times — instead of actual performance data — in reports about pending budget cuts that were presented to the commission and City Council members last year.

“Yet another explanation”? I guess the previous ones didn’t work, so they’ll keep trying. At the center of this a controversy over how the LAFD (city, not county) calculated response times to incidents. Read the article for the details.

So, what did LAFD do when it’s chief was caught lying to the City Council? They decided that it would make sense to stop giving out any response information to the press and public.

LAFD Chief Brian Cummings’ Media Blackout Is Illegal and Self-Serving, Says LA.’s Top Free-Speech Attorney

 Brian L. Cummings, chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, not only put the city in jeopardy by releasing false response times earlier this year. Nope. He has also managed to violate the California Public Records Act by now halting the release of response times and addresses to L.A. news outlets.

Using HIPAA as an excuse to with hold response data from the public might seem like a good tactic, but it probably isn’t.

This story hasn’t made a big splash (yet) but it likely will. If the Chief is lying about response times and then with holding data to cover up that lie, then someone is going to make an issue of it sooner or later.

Maybe Chief Cummings should consult with Dave Statter.

7 COMMENTS

    • Apparently the chief is unclear on the concept. Or the city attorney is unclear on the concept. Or both. Or they just came up with a convenient excuse to cover up for the previous lies. I wonder if this will get any traction in the Lame Stream Media? Probably not.

  1. Response-time issues are … nasty. Fire and EMS departments will, in my experience, point the finger at ANYTHING and ANYONE in order to justify their big red trucks/small white boxes – long before they take a hard look in the mirror.

    Of course, it’s a tough line to walk. Chiefs are justifying budgets and staffing (as they should), taxpayers are demanding zero-growth and even cuts (as they should), the crews on duty are being told “get there fast!” in one ear while someone whispers in the other “without any driving incidents or complaints from the public about your driving”.

  2. Does anyone know which time interval their reporting? Is LAFD at least being honest and reporting 911 contact to on scene (yes, patient contact time would be more honest, but I don’t mind on scene being the end time) or is it some shorter time like unit dispatch time or enroute time to on scene?

    • I don’t know how they do it. I know we currently do on scene time, but at some point we’re going to have to do at patient times. We’re supposed to document that on our trip sheets now, but I don’t know how good compliance is.

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