Steven Frischling, public information officer for the Montville-Chesterfield Fire Department, claims he was arrested for his work.
He was arrested Tuesday evening at his home in Niantic for “unauthorized recording or transmission of pictures of crimes or accident victims by first responders,” according to state police arrest records.
The 45-year-old rookie is accused of posting pictures of victims of motor vehicle accidents on social media. It was edited at Troop E and released on a $ 1,000 court bond. He is due to appear before the Norwich Superior Court on April 15th.
Frischling, who was reached by phone on Tuesday evening, said he was arrested in front of his children. He believes the arrest had something to do with an “ax to grind” against him, partly related to his strained relationship with former town firefighter Bill Bundy. Bundy declined to comment on this story.
Frischling argues that he is exempt from this charge because his work requires him to take photos of emergency situations such as accidents.
Connecticut law does not allow first responders to take photos of accident victims.
“The exception, however, is if it is part of your professional duties,” said Frischling. “So they came to my house and had me arrested in front of my children for doing my job, which the law allows.”
The Chesterfield Fire Co. PIO public Facebook page, operated by Frischling, announced the arrest on Tuesday evening.
“Although 53-341c specifically permits the photography of accident victims by those performing their duties, including the public information officer, the two images in question are from Lt. [Dave] Radford, taken and broadcast on February 6, 2021, shows no visibly identifiable victim in the images, “says Frischling on Facebook.” Plus, no image violated HIPAA laws. When PIO Frischling photographs an accident or incident, care is taken to ensure that the privacy of the victims is not compromised. Images are either taken from angles where a victim cannot be identified or they are digitally manipulated to hide their identity. “
Frischling plans to continue his role in the future, he said on Tuesday evening.
“Although today’s situation is unfortunate and Montville Police directs Lt. Radford officers to arrest and handcuff Chesterfield PIO freshman in front of his children when he got home, the mission of the Chesterfield Fire Company PIO does not deter the mission of the Chesterfield Fire Company PIO,” wrote Frischling continues Facebook from the Chesterfield Fire Co. PIO page.
Freshman spoke to The Day as he drove home from admission to be worked on Tuesday night. In the car sat Keith Truex, head of the Chesterfield Fire Co. Freshman said members of the fire department were behind him.
Truex reiterated Wednesday that he and the rest of the company are standing with Frischling.
Further information was not immediately available. Radford confirmed the arrest and said police would issue a press release later Wednesday.