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Allegations involving employee spark questions

Letter to the editor

To the editor:

In the beginning of May there was a story on the news of a Mehlville Fire Protection District EMS supervisor who was accused of stealing and using drugs from Mehlville's ambulances.

What about the drugs he allegedly used? Was there no inventory check to prevent this from happening? If there was, what did he allegedly substitute the packages and drugs with? Was anybody harmed because they did not receive the correct medication?

How much did this cost the taxpayers and insurance companies?

I had a personal emergency happen a few years ago that could have been impacted by this situation. How long has this been going on? Have there been any other drug abuse cases in the past?

What is Mehlville's administration doing about this problem? How long has Mehlville known of the problem? What is being done to prevent this from occurring again?

Is there a random drug-testing policy in place? Was this supervisor tested?

In regard to the article in the Call on cross-training of paramedics and firefighters, it is my opinion that they can not do both jobs effectively.

They are both very specialized fields and have become more and more specialized.

Paramedics are specialized in the most up-to-date medical training. Firefighters are specialized in firefighting, hazardous materials, emergency rescue and EMT training to assist paramedics on medical calls.

I do not want a paramedic that just trained to fight fires rescuing someone in my family in a fire, nor would I want a fireman with only a few years' experience treating my father for a heart attack.

I would expect the best people for each situation to show up under these situations.

It would be like hiring an electrician to do a plumber's job or a plumber to do an electrician's job at your home. You wouldn't do it because it doesn't make sense.

The survey that was taken said that 89 percent of the people thought the services we already have were good the way they were.

So why change something that is working? The consequences of this could be irrevocable.

Terry Callahan


Editor's note: The Call previously reported that the fire district's three-member Board of Directors voted unanimously to "affirm the recommendation of Chief Ray Haddock to suspend indefinitely without pay Deputy Chief Greg Harwood, effective May 6, 2004," according to the board's vote taken in a May 17 closed session. The Call reports on Page 7A today that Harwood was charged last week with six separate counts of stealing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

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