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'It doesn't stop on holidays': Labor Day isn't a day off for first responders

Hewitt fire engine
Posted at 7:29 AM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 08:29:17-04

WACO, Texas — While most people were able to take Monday off of work, not everyone was able to celebrate at home. For first responders, work can't be paused for holidays.

Monday was just another day at the Waco Police Department for patrol officer Whitney Otting.

"At the end of the day, crime doesn't stop on Labor Day, it doesn't stop on holidays," Otting said.

Even though it was a holiday, she said she doesn't mind having to work.

"We get to be more interactive with our community because a lot of people are off and they're out and about so we get to see them more than on normal workdays," she said.

Down at the Hewitt Fire Department, Lt. Casey Garcia wasn't bothered by the holiday work either.

"As a fire department, we're scheduled for a full year in advance so we know if we're gonna be working certain holidays and that's just part of it," he said.

Garcia said the department does its best to celebrate holidays, even if they're at the firehouse.

"This is our extended family," he said. "We get together, we'll have some of our families come up and it's a holiday here, with just us having to leave for calls."

Both Otting and Garcia said this Labor Day came with a little extra work than usual.

Otting said holidays are normally busier for officers. She mentioned increased traffic on the roads is one source.

"We have more car crashes and more areas that we need to patrol more often," she said.

Garcia said Monday was unusually busy. The department had been dispatched eight times by the early evening, a number much higher than a typical day.

"Several medical calls, grass fire calls, structure call with a car involved at a gas pump so it's been pretty crazy today," he said.