“…for lack of public interest…”André Schmitt
this is my first post, so I would like to introduce myself briefly. My name is Daniel, I am roughly 40 years old and have been working in the rescue service for 23 years, of which the 21 years as a paramedic and since 2015 as an emergency paramedic respectively.
I write this here anonymously, not because I don’t stand behind what I say or write, not because I make up the stories, but because I have a family to feed and my job to keep. Politically, it is not desirable to report on violence against emergency forces in too much detail.
Here I would like to tell you about my experiences in the area of “violence against emergency forces”. Since this is my own experience, it is of course purely subjective…
Until about 2012/13, operations in which the rescue service or fire department were attacked were an absolute exception. Also in urban areas. There has always been the use of “pub, beer tent, fair or family party brawl (and any other form of “discussion trauma”)”. But in the past, the hand was not raised against rescue workers. At least that’s how I feel.
However, since the 2010s, my colleagues and I have been “getting punched in the mouth” more and more often. Especially in cities, violence against emergency forces has become commonplace.
I worked in two major cities over 100,000 population before I decided to go back to land rescue at the end of the rainbow in 2020 because I would have escalated otherwise.
I worked in the first major city from 2003 to 2014. Most of the time it was peaceful. From 2012/13, however, we were increasingly verbally attacked and threatened. Once or twice a month, this verbal violence or threatening gestures turned into “tangible” violence. Most of the time the police were on the scene in time, unfortunately not always. Therefore, more and more colleagues have started to equip themselves privately with animal repellent spray (pepper spray) or large rod lights. Our service providers saw no need for action.
Then in 2014, for love’s sake, I moved to the second big city. Different state, different customs.
When my new boss and I visited the hospitals in the area of operation and the control center on our first day of work, a letter was posted at the control center stating that fire department operations in districts X and Y would only be carried out with police protection and that the fire department vehicles would gather in Z and wait until the police had arrived “in sufficient strength”.
In a conversation with control center dispatchers and my boss, I then learned that districts X and Y are “not the best residential areas” and that trash can and car fires regularly occur there. During several of these operations, the fire department had been massively attacked. Purely precautionary…
However, the ambulance service would continue to go to X and Y without the police.
Makes sense, we are two, with the fire department you have quickly times 20 people on site…
The second major city, I can say, has left a lasting impression on me.
While stabbings were still an absolute rarity for me until 2014, there was not a week in the second major city where I did not have to care for the victim of a knife attack at least once.
Violence against us also increased rapidly.
After a quarter of a year, I knew weekend night duty = min. One of them tries to fight with me.
To all those who think that such situations can be solved and de-escalated with words:
B U L L S H I T!!!
A situation in which someone is out to make a ruckus, this person can no longer be de-escalated.
Many of my colleagues, regardless of employer, have had to be treated as outpatients or inpatients after such encounters. I also went to the D-doctor 9 times for outpatient treatment.
Until the police arrived, usually 10 minutes passed, during which I had to protect myself and often my colleagues from violence. My “taker qualities” are virtually non-existent. So I handed out frames of self-defense or emergency aid more often than I would have liked.
What really frustrated me, however, was that EVERY criminal complaint I filed (assault is a so-called official offense, i.e. the police must investigate here and present the results to the public prosecutor) was dropped “for lack of public interest”.
This is, in my opinion, the main cause of the increasing violence. It has no consequences, nor may it be reported on.
Especially not if they are intensive offenders who are not named Klaus, Eberhardt, Sören or Julia.
By chance, I met a school friend of mine again in the second big city, who works for public broadcasting after graduating from high school and university. We talked about who does what now, how we did after graduation.
When he heard that I was a paramedic, he said he had wanted to do a report on violence against emergency personnel for some time. I said he picked the right town for that. You’ll get a beating here every week.
He wanted to talk to his editor the next day and I talked to my boss. “Daniel, I can’t decide that, it has to go to the CEO. I’ll pass on the request. It’s a hot potato.”
The executive director passed it on to the state association.
The next day, the deputy mayor of the second major city called me (no joke) on my private cell phone (only the gods know how he got the number) and threatened me with the harshest personal and legal consequences if I leaked even a word to the press. Disturbing. And sobering. No one will help you. No one cares either. Your right to physical integrity is apparently worth less than the right of other people to want to riot.
Everyone still has the images of New Year’s Eve 2022/2023 in their heads.
Since at least In 2014, EVERY New Year’s Eve was like this in the second major city, and it was the same in many others. May Day, summer festivals, any kind of fair, fireworks, G20 meetings – in short, any major event now carries the risk of civil war-like riots.
But it is also getting worse in the countryside, in a cow village with under 1000 inhabitants, an ambulance was so badly damaged with rockets and firecrackers in 2022 to 2023 in my ambulance service area that it had to abort the mission to which the vehicle was on its way.
Again and again I ask myself, what is wrong with people like that? Hard to believe? Corona year 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal government’s 2021 figures:
“Violence against emergency forces”
“Berlin: (hib/STO) “Violence against emergency forces” in 2021 in connection with the performance of their duties are a topic of the response of the Federal Government (20/5431) to a minor question of the AfD parliamentary group (20/5178).
After that, in 2021, there were 25 cases of attempted murder of law enforcement officers and one case of a firefighter. Furthermore, two female members of other emergency services were reportedly victims of completed manslaughter and 30 police correctional officers were victims of attempted manslaughter.
Victims of completed dangerous and grievous bodily harm in the same year were 1,336 police law enforcement officers, two customs enforcement officers, 16 firefighters and 84 forces of other emergency services, the response continues. According to the report, victims of attempted dangerous and grievous bodily harm included 1,716 law enforcement officers, 32 firefighters and 69 members of other emergency services.
In addition, according to the bill, 1,789 police law enforcement officers, four customs enforcement officers, 78 firefighters and 441 forces of other emergency services were victims of – completed or attempted – intentional simple assault in 2021.
According to the federal government, the figures are based on a special analysis of the police crime statistics. In the process, a person who was victimized multiple times was also counted multiple times, as the federal government explains. The data on law enforcement officers includes both state and federal police officers, according to the bill.”
Source: Homepage of the German Bundestag
So, in 2021, there were a total of 5,625 violent crimes against emergency personnel (not counting verbal attacks!), 15.41 per day…despite lockdown and various restrictions on public life. However, the number of unreported cases is probably much higher, as many attacks (in my RD area) are not even reported to the police. We have the possibility to write a message in the QM portal, but this also fizzles out in nirvana.
There is no training in self-defense, better personal protective equipment adapted to the new reality, or anything similar.
Many colleagues smile at me because I carry a belt in the field, including scissors, knife, flashlight and an “Israeli Bandage”. The latter is not for patients, but for personal use.
That’s where my colleagues’ understanding stops, at the latest. The fact that we can also get into “life-threatening situations” is simply ignored. “LEBEL bags” are loaded on ambulances in the county, filled with ChestSeal, Israeli Bandages, Torniquettes… that “LEBEL” is the abbreviation for “life-threatening emergency situations” is simply unknown. Is just “dat trauma bag”.
The fact that a life-threatening situation is not only a terrorist attack, but can develop from any banal operation, is ignored by colleagues, rescue service schools and the leadership.
The HiLoPe (helpless person) who suddenly pulls a knife in a drunken stupor, the junkie on withdrawal or some chemical cocktail, the escalated family party, the traffic accident, at any time an operation can develop into a life-threatening situation for the emergency services.
We were alerted to an apartment building sometime in late summer around 1:30 am.
Mission message: Alcoholic, wants to go to rehab.
Location: well-maintained apartment building, single and multi-family houses in the neighborhood. The road was a dead end. The patient was on the 2nd floor.
My colleague and I went into the apartment, doors behind us were open (escape route was free), the patient told us the usual blaBlaBla “I’m an alcoholic, I want to get sober”….
So far so good, we offered the patient to go to the responsible acute psychiatric clinic in A-village. However, the patient preferred to go to the psychiatric clinic in B village because it was “nicer” (no joke) there. Here there were only 2 problems: 1. b-village is about 60km away and 2. the talent factory in B village does not take acute cases, certainly not at night. Several times, my colleague and I tried to make the patient understand this, while he packed seemingly random pieces of clothing into a travel bag. Suddenly, the patient turned around, holding a revolver in his right hand and said, “If you don’t take me to B village, I’ll just kill everyone!”
We immediately took flight, slammed all the doors behind us, left the house and now saw the patient with a revolver standing on the balcony under which the ambulance was parked.
On the way through the stairwell, I had already pressed the emergency call button on our radio and informed the control center that we were being threatened with a firearm.
The situation for us was as follows:
- Guy with gun on balcony
- RTW is in the field of fire
- We are in a dead end and have to pass the field of fire to get out of the dead end
- Police are informed and on their way
Not good…but it got worse:
We hid behind the corner of a house at the end of the cul-de-sac, about 50m from the shooter. After about 10 minutes, the control center called on the duty cell phone that the police still had some questions.
The policeman on the other end of the line told us to meet the police at the parking lot of a supermarket about 3 km away. Since we had to walk through the field of fire to get to the supermarket, this was not possible for us. The officer on the other end replied: “Great, then we’ll have a hostage situation” and hung up.
This is certainly a high-stress situation for the police as well, but honestly, that was not the answer I was hoping for. Honestly, I was speechless for a brief moment…but only briefly, because in the perpetrator’s house, the stairwell light came on. After about two minutes, the perpetrator came out of the front door with a packed bag. A few he circled the parked RTW and pulled on the door handles. He then moved toward us, calling out “Where are you?” over and over again.
I called the police again, told them the new situation and got the answer: “The forces are still gathering”. Great…while they gather, two “medics” get to hide from an armed one.
My colleague and I are not particularly athletic but tall and broad. An easy target.
In the meantime, the distance between the perpetrator and us had shrunk to about 15m. Clearly too little for my taste.
What to do? Keep hoping the perpetrator won’t peek around the corner of the house and spot us? Not a good idea.
However, in the light of the street lamps we could see that the perpetrator had his travel bag in his right hand and his left hand was empty.
My colleague and I both had a flashlight with a strobe function and pepper spray.
What to do? Wait and hope for the best or take the initiative? Brief consultation with the colleague. He too was in favor of regaining the initiative.
Following the motto “offense is the best defense,” we jumped forward from behind the corner of the house with a loud roar, strobe lights pointed at the perpetrator.
“GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR! I WANT TO SEE HANDS!!!!”.
As we had seen in many Hollywood action movies. And indeed, the perpetrator dropped his bag and raised his hands in front of his face.
“GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR! I WANT TO SEE HANDS!!!! SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!!!”
Now the blinds were pulled up on the neighboring houses…the culprit was still standing after
My colleague and I yelled with all our might
“GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR! I WANT TO SEE HANDS!!!! SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!!! GET DOWN!!! DAMN; GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR!!!”
While my colleague continued to glare and yell at the perpetrator, I stepped to the side of the perpetrator, also yelling, apparently unnoticed by him, and summoned all my courage to bring the perpetrator down with a well-aimed kick to the back of the knee. Which he did unchecked. Afterwards I pushed my knee into the neck of the perpetrator and continued to shout…
“DO NOT MOVE!!! STAY DOWN!!!”
The neighbors, awakened by the still persistent roar (after all, it was the middle of the week and at night), apparently called the police, because about a minute later, 8-10 patrol cars “flew” into the street.
With NVA helmets (at least that’s what the helmets looked like), MP5 and and and. Huge mess, more yelling.
The police took over the offender. In the apartment of the offender was found the revolver, a firearm.
The perpetrator was taken by the police to the psychiatric hospital in A-village.
I am not informed about any legal consequence for the perpetrator, neither my colleague nor I were ever questioned about the case, nor summoned as witnesses in court.
In the meantime I have resigned.
Whereas my motivation at the beginning of my career was to help people in need, today I just want to finish work on time and go home unharmed.
It’s all just getting on my nerves.