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Police: Man posed as EMT, treated dozens including legislators

Updated: 05/22/2014 4:16 PM | Created: 05/21/2014 10:15 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

State police say a man posed as an EMT for nearly two years, and treated dozens of people.

According to investigators, David Allen Phillips served on a search and rescue squad and even provided medical care for legislators.

State police actually runs and regulates one of the organizations Phillips lied to be a part of, and after KOB Eyewitness News 4's story, the agency says it will change policy.

KOB first learned about Phillips through a letter written to state legislators.

The letter told certain lawmakers they'd received care from someone posing as an EMT.

"In February of this year he responded to a call for medical services in Glorieta," said NMSP  Maj. Ryan Suggs.

Suggs said Phillips was a volunteer EMT in Santa Fe County.

A couple red flags on a call for service had his captain checking things out.

"He did locate his EMT license," Suggs said. "It had been forged."

Police said in a year and a half Phillips used a fake license during 16 calls for Glorieta Search and Rescue -- a service regulated by NMSP -- plus three medical calls in Santa Fe County.

He also treated legislators and staff from an EMT station at the state capitol.

"During the (legislative) session we've identified approximately 40 times that Mr. Phillips provided some level of EMT services to someone," said Suggs.

State senator Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque) was one of those legislators.

It's kind of concerning," he said.

Candelaria hurt his knee on the job and Phillips checked it out.

He got a letter about it and state police say they're working to contact everyone who received care from Phillips.

Some of the responsibility falls here at state police; the agency oversees state search and rescue teams.

Suggs says the next step is identifying the weaknesses in the system.

"We'll be able to identify those and hopefully shore those processes up," said Suggs.

KOB asked state police chief Pete Kassetas -- who sits on the search and rescue board -- what will be fixed.     

He explained the board certifies teams as a whole.

If a team claims they have members with medical certification, that state does not validate it.

Kassetas said on Wednesday, that protocol will change.

He said NMSP will now individually certify all search and rescue team members.

Police haven't charged Phillips yet, but there is a specific crime of impersonating an EMT.   

State police are looking to add felony fraud charges.    

KOB has not heard back from the doctor who supervised Phillips when he allegedly posed as an EMT at the statehouse.

Phillips pay for the session has been withheld.

KOB couldn't reach Phillips for comment.


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