The public information officer for a Montville fire company was arrested Tuesday because he posted pictures of crash victims without their permission, police said.
Steven Frischling, 45, of Carriage Hill Drive in the Niantic section of East Lyme was taken into custody at his home on two counts of unauthorized transmitting by a first responders, they said. He was released on a written promise to appear in Superior Court in Norwich on April 15.
According to the Montville Police Department, police began investigating the case on Feb. 7, after Frischling, the public information officer of the Chesterfield Fire Company, was found to have posted photographs of crash victims without their permission on social media sites, including Facebook.
It wasn’t clear if a complaint led to the investigation. Frischling could not be reached for comment.
A Tuesday post on the Chesterfield Fire Co. PIO Facebook page said Frischling was allowed to photograph the crash scene and victims because it is his job; the law specifically exempts people who are performing their duties, it said.
Also, Frisching was took care to be sure the victims could not be identified, the post said.
The post also says that Frisching was handcuffed in front of his children.
Many fire departments post pictures of fires and crash scenes on Facebook and other social media sites to show the public, specifically taxpayers, their work. The pictures usually do not include victims.
According to the relevant state law, 53-341c, “Any … firefighter … or any ambulance driver, emergency medical responder, emergency medical technician or paramedic … who responds to a request to provide medical or other assistance to a person and, other than in the performance of his or her duties, knowingly (1) takes a photographic or digital image of such person without the consent of such person or a member of such person’s immediate family, or (2) transmits, disseminates or otherwise makes available to a third person a photographic or digital image of such person without the consent of such person or a member of such person’s immediate family, shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”