In their neon safety vests accented with glow-in-the-dark strips, they are the unsung volunteers standing in the middle of an intersection when a fire burns, a car accident blocks the way, or a parade passes by.
Known as “fire police” — not quite firefighters, not quite police officers — they have a mission all their own. They control traffic and crowds, enabling firefighters and police to do their jobs without worrying about troublesome curiosity-seekers trying to get a closer look. This year, three area fire police officers are each celebrating 50-plus years on the street. Jean Sullivan, membership secretary of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Police Association, discovered their achievement and helped arrange ceremonies and citations in June honoring them for their public service. "How many people do you know who volunteer and stick with it — for 50 years?” Sullivan said.