There’s an old joke that asks, “What do cops and firefighters have in common?”
The answer: “They all want to be firefighters.”
The punch line rings – somewhat – true for Jaime Trevino of the San Antonio Police Department.
When Trevino climbed to the rank of sergeant at SAPD, the keynote speaker at the promotion ceremony was Tom Polonis, a former longtime San Antonio police officer who now serves as deputy assistant director for response at the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
“Captain Polonis talked about the value of incident management teams,” Trevino recalled. “He kind of left the door open if anybody was interested.”
The Alamo All-Hazard IMT is primarily composed of firefighters rather than police officers, but Trevino didn’t miss a beat before signing up to join the team.
“You do this in the first place because you want to serve the public,” he said. “Working with an IMT allowed me to serve the public in a different capacity.”
The police sergeant started out on the IMT providing shelter security, and he took several incident management classes prior to the 2005 hurricane season. He has since been deployed for wildfires, floods and hurricane recovery.
Serving now with the Lone Star State IMT in New York, Trevino is gaining experience as a Resource Unit Leader in the Plans Section. The position involves tracking field activities and composing a complex Incident Action Plan, which accounts for resources and personnel, and outlines the operational directives for each shift of work.
“It’s been a very valuable experience,” Trevino said. “I come from the Operations side of the house on our IMT. Working in Plans, you realize how much information has to be sorted and distributed. It keeps your mind busy.”
Trevino said he’s proud of what the team is accomplishing as it helps New Yorkers rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“I hope to see forward progress in the mission from New York,” he said. “I’m already seeing that the maps we are preparing are a little thinner than they were when we got here. We’ve learned from New York and I hope they’ll be able to learn from us.”