Contra Costa Fire Official Arrested For Possession Of Controlled Substances

January 8, 2019 12:18 pm · 29 comments

The chief of Emergency Medical Services for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District was arrested Sunday on suspicion of illegal
possession of controlled substances, fire officials said Tuesday.

EMS Chief Richard Stephenson was arrested by Martinez police Sunday morning and has been placed on administrative leave, according to the firs district.

“Preliminary investigation indicates this is an isolated incident that did not involve the public or affect our services provided to the public,” Fire Chief Jeff Carman said in a news release.

Stephenson has been with the fire district for 19 years.

No other information about the case was immediately released.

Anon January 8, 2019 at 12:28 PM

Wow, throw away a $300k job for that? Not worth it.

And please Stop with the vitrue signaling, let the investigation determine if there are anymore involved.

Swan January 8, 2019 at 12:56 PM

Of course I’m left hanging with the question, “What kind of controlled substances”? Incendiary materials? Narcotics? Weapons? This is the CHIEF of the EMS for the County, so it’s disturbing. Hopefully there’ll be more info soon.

Ll January 8, 2019 at 1:41 PM

A different site referenced fentinol??

Natalie January 8, 2019 at 1:39 PM

There is a problem with addiction in the field of EMS work, particularly with abusing pain killers. It doesn’t make him a bad person. Hopefully he beats his addiction.

Loki January 8, 2019 at 2:31 PM

Good luck convincing Claycordians that drug addicts aren’t necessarily bad people.

Khloe January 9, 2019 at 6:18 PM

So true!

Anonymous January 8, 2019 at 2:28 PM

Natalie – don’t single out EMS as being a bunch of addicts. If you do , cite some sources. Being arrested doesn’t make him a bad person, just another criminal .

Natalie January 8, 2019 at 3:14 PM

Hi Anonymous. Do an internet search for “addiction in EMS”. Clearly not all EMS workers suffer from addiction, nor even the majority. But there is none-the-less a problem in the field due to the stress of the work. There is also a higher-than-average rate of depression. They do the work many of us can’t do or won’t do. EMS workers are heroes. Sometimes our heroes falter because of stress.

Jojo Potato January 8, 2019 at 3:34 PM

Being arrested doesn’t make anyone anything. You’ve heard about innocent until convicted? Or maybe not. There have been problems with EMS personnel and drugs, particularly painkillers. That may or may not have anything to do with this case. In the meantime, I suggest you keep your mouth shut until more information becomes available.

Cowellian January 8, 2019 at 3:38 PM

You first, Jojo!

The Mamba January 8, 2019 at 4:10 PM

He had fentanyl for sale from the other articles I’ve read, most likely stolen from the medical boxes and lockers the EMTs use with his master key.

Anonymous January 8, 2019 at 4:37 PM

Jo jo : This guy didn’t get arrested on a whim or for singing too loud in church. Don’t you reckon that this case got a lot of scrutiny before the arrest?

I guess you could say the Golden State killer ( or east area rapist if you prefer ) is not a criminal because he hasn’t been convicted of anything . Neither was Hitler or Stalin.

The presumption of innocence is applicable to trials , not common sense.
And no , Jo Jo I don’t plan to keep my mouth shut. But thank you for sharing.

Ya right January 8, 2019 at 4:59 PM

The guy stole expired narcotics and watered down narcotics that were supposed to be available to treat people in need. His supervisor and medical director as well as the fire chief should be held responsible. Right now the fire department does not have narcotics on their engines until they do an audit and fix this problem. Public safety is compromised due to the inaction of the fire chief.

Thomas Edison January 8, 2019 at 9:02 PM

“Ya right” you sound like you know what your talking about?? You must have intimate knowledge of that industry? So a chief/employee commits a crime and his three highest supervisors are also displined?? Because??? I’m not sure I understand your logic behind that? Can you please expand apon your intimate knowledge of this industries displine policies? Most jobs wont fire there upper management positions just baised on proximity.

TraumaRx January 8, 2019 at 5:13 PM

Don’t cast judgment based on one article. He’s innocent untill proven guilty in a court of law.

Anon January 8, 2019 at 5:25 PM

Only if he was wearing a seat belt.

Cowellian January 8, 2019 at 5:27 PM

Wrong, again!
He’s only innocent if he didn’t do it.

TraumaRx January 8, 2019 at 6:26 PM

Just because you get arrested doesn’t make you ultimately guilty. Wait untill all the facts come out before you assume the worse.

Cowellian January 8, 2019 at 8:13 PM

It’s not the arrest that makes him guilty. It’s whether or not he actually committed the crime that makes him guilty or innocent. I’ll make whatever assumptions I choose.

Sign from Above January 9, 2019 at 7:32 AM

Coming from TraumaRx that’s funny!!! He/she has NEVER been judgmental on Claycord!!

Anonymous January 8, 2019 at 5:44 PM

Trauma- if you know he is innocent you should offer to testify for him.

WC January 8, 2019 at 9:43 PM

“Preliminary investigation indicates this is an isolated incident that did not involve the public or affect our services provided to the public,”

They always say this.

Turn n Burn January 9, 2019 at 8:13 AM

Trauma, funny how you side with Fire, but hate the Police with a passion. Oh yes,and everyone wear a seatbelt.

John Q January 9, 2019 at 11:52 AM

From other news sources, Public records show he had his Paramedic license revoked for lying about convictions of domestic battery. His EMT certificate was suspended 3x for drug abuse. Multiple stints at rehab. His managers should absolutely be held accountable for allowing someone with that sort of background to be holding the keys to the narcotics.

Oliver January 9, 2019 at 1:35 PM

Yeah, having been in EMS for over 30 years, I can say that there was no oversight on Richard Stephenson. Usually, expired medications, including narcotics, are taken off the rigs / ambulances and destroyed, usually in front of a second person. Possibly in this case, Richard was the one responsible to remove the expired medications, and instead of destroying them, he just took them home. Kudos for the landlord / roommate for turning him in.

The Professor January 9, 2019 at 2:25 PM

He had Olive Garden breadsticks in his pocket. Olive Garden is not allowed in Claycord!

NativeConcordGirl January 9, 2019 at 9:28 PM

There are drug addicts in all walks of life and anybody who doesn’t realize that is an idiot. They aren’t all bad people so quit judging or putting everyone in the same category as a crackhead junkie. Who knows what the real story is or what the circumstances are/were. These comments are opinions and assumptions unless someone knows him personally…and if they do they should keep quiet. I don’t know him or what the deal is but he is only human like anyone else.

Michael Hunt January 10, 2019 at 12:00 AM

If fire engines and fire trucks don’t have narcotic medications on board. Then currently public safety is compromised because everybody knows the fire departments gets a residence first before an ambulance. Don’t sell this as “public safety is not compromised.” If my wife fell and broke her legs, I’d expect there to be some pain management from the first responder agency that are funded by our tax dollars. Not wait for the ambulance drivers narcotics.

– Mike Hunt

Harold of the Rocks January 12, 2019 at 12:17 PM

Since this article was published there has been more details released on his arrest. Yes, he had opiates that were not prescribed to him in his possession, and now there are also two felony counts of embezzlement. Those two charges involve less than $1500 embezzled. $1500? I’m figuring there is a lot more history and evidence against this man than we know. Those two charges are probably the two cases with the strongest evidence against him. There are probably more charges, but weaker proof of guilt. I am assuming he wasn’t arrested until they had these solid cases which the charges will stick and he will sentenced to prison. With him having 19 years with the fire district, he has made a lot of connections and probably carried a lot of weight amongst politicians and law enforcement. The last thing the District Attorney and the fire district want is for him to be tried and found “not guilty.” That could be a very expensive lawsuit against the county. His $300K/year salary would look like pennies compared to the possible compensation the county would have to shell out to him.

Can you imagine being the Martinez PD officers who had to arrest this 19 year veteran chief of Emergency Medical Services for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection in front of his and your peers? They must have a open-and-shut case… at least, lord I hope they do!

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