I have had many firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (“EMTs”) come to me to obtain their Maryland Wear & Carry Permit because of the dangers that they face as first responders. This is because many firefighters and EMTs routinely are threatened by the public in the performance of their official duties as first responders. In many cases, depending upon the jurisdiction, this can be related to gang activities or drug overdoses. It is not unusual for first responders to be threatened with harm for just doing their jobs.
Unfortunately, the Maryland State Police (“MSP”) have made it more difficult in the last year for first responders to obtain a Maryland Wear & Carry Permit. Hershon Legal, LLC has dealt with this issue on behalf of many first responders and in an effort to assist these brave men and women who perform extremely dangerous jobs in the most difficult circumstances, we are here to help you.
First, it is important to know that the MSP does not consider firefighters and EMTs to be what is classified as an Assumed Risk Position – which the MSP defines as the following:
“a position, as determined by the Secretary, of the Department of State Police (Secretary), of government/public safety/criminal justice employment where, by the virtue of the positions [sic] duties and responsibilities, the employee voluntarily and knowingly assumes risks that those duties will place their lives in imminent danger and subject them to be targeted by individuals or entities seeking to do them harm as a result of performing those duties or responsibilities.” (emphasis supplied)
In dissecting the above definition, it is apparent from reading this, firefighters and EMTs certainly should fall under this definition as their employment with a Fire Department (whether as a paid or volunteer) is definitively “public safety”. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the duties and responsibilities of such employment place their lives in imminent danger.
The MSP requires that in order for a person to obtain their Wear & Carry Permit, unless they fall under certain classifications such as being a business owner, they would apply for their permit under the “personal protection” category and will have to provide documentation of a recent threat to the applicant’s safety.
This is where the difficult part is for most first responders, the documentation. The MSP prefers to have police reports that document threats or assaults to an applicant. Unfortunately, from my discussion with many first responders, the police typically do not write reports for threats or assaults against other first responders. As a result, there is little to no documentation that the first responder applicants can provide to substantiate their application for the Wear & Carry Permit and thus are denied.
How can you provide adequate documentation to substantiate your request?
First, when an incident does occur when you are threatened or assaulted by an individual, contact the police; if they are on scene, ask the responding officer to write a report regarding this. If they refuse to do so, and unfortunately, this happens most of the time for a variety of reasons, obtain the officer’s name and badge number. When you return to the station, draft a memo to your commanding officer with all of the details of what occurred and if you know the individual’s name who threatened or assaulted you, include that information too. Sign and date the memo, keep a copy for your records and submit it to your commanding officer.
Secondly, if another member of your department witnessed the threats or assault, have them complete an affidavit, executed under penalty of perjury with the relevant facts of what occurred. This can be included in your memo to your commanding officer as well.
When you have such documentation, it is time to submit your application for your Maryland Wear & Carry Permit. If you require any assistance in this or have questions, please contact Ed Hershon at Hershon Legal, LLC. Ed can be reached at (443) 926-1702 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hershon Legal, LLC can be viewed on the web at www.hershonlegal.com.