Bay Area EMT accused of crimes is sidelined


 
 

Andrew McIntosh The Sacramento Bee | | Tuesday, June 26, 2007


FAIRFIELD, Calif. Solano County and San Francisco fire department officials on Thursday took separate steps to sideline a Northern California emergency medical technician who had remained on the job as an EMT-firefighter, despite his history of stalking women and a string of arrests for child sexual abuse, indecent exposure, spousal battery and vandalism.

San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White reassigned Timothy Lee Gutierrez, 39, of Fairfield, to a desk job so he will have no contact with the public.

Solano County officials have asked Gutierrez to voluntarily surrender his county-issued EMT certification card by noon Friday or they will suspend it themselves, citing a pattern of allegations of disturbing off-duty sexual and other behavior that are incompatible with his status as an emergency first responder.

"Given my responsibilities to protect the public, I'm not comfortable allowing him to continue practicing," Solano emergency medical services director Michael Frenn said.

The actions, confirmed by San Francisco fire and Solano county officials, come nine days after The Bee reported that Gutierrez continued to work as a rescuer in one county while facing four sets of criminal charges in another, despite a Solano County prosecutor's 2006 warning that he was "a very serious risk to the community."

His case highlighted weaknesses with the state's patchwork licensing and certification system for EMT's and paramedics that state Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, said failed to adequately protect the public from troubled rescuers. Ashburn has a bill before the state Senate calling for statewide licensure for all EMTs and mandatory criminal background checks.

Denis Honeychurch, a Fairfield attorney who represents Gutierrez in four ongoing criminal cases in Solano County Superior Court, declined to comment.




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