Tomorrow, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department say farewell to a gentleman and colleague who has played a key role in our City's safety for nearly 40 years.
Those outside of Southern California probably know Inspector Dennis Bogard through his many network television interviews - or articles that have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily News and countless professional journals. Even if you've never set foot in Los Angeles, you've in some way been cared for or protected by his lifetime of mentoring first responders.
For many Los Angeles residents and the Firefighters and Paramedics who protect them, tomorrow will be a day in which we gather to recognize and affirm the professional benchmarks of Dennis Bogard, honoring a man who has done great good whenever he has found a person in need. It is no mere coincedence that is accomplishments read like an historical archive...
1964-1967 Dennis served in the US Navy during the Viet Nam war.
1965 - Part Time ambulance attendant for Millers Ambulance Service while still in the Navy, and was one of the first private ambulances to respond along with Joe Ortiz to the August 11, 1965 Watts riots. They worked without any police escorts transporting patients to the area hospitals.
1966 - Worked for McCormick Ambulance Service for the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, Lawndale and Westchester.
1968 - Los Angeles County, The American Heart Association, Daniel Freeman Hospital and McCormick Ambulance Service implemented the first paramedic pilot program using ambulance drivers from McCormick Ambulance, and cardiac care nurses from Daniel Freeman Hospital. Under the direction of Walter Graff, a training program was put into place and Dennis Bogard along with 12 others assisted the cardiac care nurses with patient care, drove the Step Van that had been converted into a Cardiac Care Unit on wheels. In early 1968 the unit was put into service and Dennis Bogard had the opportunity to drive the first paramedic run in Los Angeles County.
1969 - United Airlines 727 aircraft crashed into Santa Monica Bay shortly after take-off from Los Angeles International Airport because of poor weather conditions. The crew shut down an engine after a fire warning and initiated a turn-back to the airport. The aircraft then crashed, killing 32 passengers and 6 crew members. Dennis and his partner Russell Chidley Jr. responded to the scene and set up the command post for all the responding McCormick Ambulances and other private ambulances. This was the first of many disasters that he was about to experience throughout his career in providing prehospital care.
June 1969 - He completed the first class given by Los Angeles County for Emergency Medical Technician I.
November 1969 - While working under an emergency appointment, Dennis had the opportunity to serve as an ambulance driver for the City of Los Angeles Central Receiving Hospital; this was the beginning of his career with the City of Los Angeles. Central Receiving Hospital ambulances worked out of police stations and responded to police emergency calls.
February 1970 - He was appointed to a full time position as ambulance driver and worked out of the Los Angeles Police Department’s University Station.
July 1970 - All ambulances and their crews were transferred to the Los Angeles City Fire Department. The Chief at that time was Raymond Hill, and Dennis Bogard was assigned to Fire Station 15 under Captains Joseph Lockwood and John Adams. Dennis worked the South Central area most of the early years of his career.
February 1971 - Ambulance driver Dennis Bogard and his partner Earl Donley responded to the San Fernando earthquake disaster, which caused heavy damage to Olive View Hospital.
July 1973 - Bogard was promoted to ambulance attendant.
1973 - He was active with the training of CPR and held an American Heart Association teaching certificate. He assisted the Fire Department and the American Heart Association in training Fire Department members in Basic CPR throughout the city in the beginning years of the CPR program.
November 1974 - He attended Paramedic School at Harbor General Hospital for a second time after having given up his first certification in 1969 to go to work for Central Receiving Hospital.
March 1975 - Bogard was assigned as a paramedic ambulance attendant to Fire Station 55.
Throughout the 1970’s he worked the busiest areas of the city working Rescue Ambulances 15, 22, 61, 35, 55, 14 and 20 in and near the University Village, South Central, Fairfax, Los Feliz, Newton and Silver Lake neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
1977 - Dennis started working part time for National Primary Care Inc. as the Educational Director. The company was made up of emergency room doctors from Queen of Angels Hospital. Queen of Angels was developing a paramedic training program and Dennis was instrumental in the research and development of that program. This was the foundation of his experience and training that was needed to develop training programs for future pre-hospital care medics.
1979 - Bogard had the opportunity to assist the Fire Chief, and the Fire Department at the Chief’s request. Dennis’s company National Primary Care Inc., agreed to do an in-house program to train new ambulance drivers. Dennis wrote the training program for the first Fire Department EMT-A classes for the Fire Department’s Ambulance Driver drill tower. His first class graduated in February 1979. Since his program, hundreds of EMT-1’s have been trained for the Fire Department and today all Fire Department personal are required to hold EMT-1 certifications.
In 1980 - He decided to 'slow down' and transferred to the San Fernando Valley area of the City of Los Angeles. His assignments were Rescue Ambulances 81, 60, 104, 105, 100, and 87 serving the Arleta, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Northridge, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, West Hills, West Van Nuys and Granada Hills neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
February 1980 - Dennis received a call from National Medical Enterprises who was holding the contract to train paramedics for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dennis worked with the Saudi government developing their program. In February 1981 he went to Saudi Arabia to implement their program. He worked with National Medical Enterprises, and Prince Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, whom later became the king. He spent a 45-day tour in the country, traveling from one area to another opening, and dedicating paramedic units throughout the Kingdom. He turned down the opportunity from the King to become their Chief Paramedic, to return to his first love, the Fire Department.
In 1991, Dennis sustained severe neck injuries which made him unable to work on an ambulance. He was assigned to the LAFD Central Staffing Unit in June 1991 following neck surgery.
November 1992 - Dennis left Central Staffing Unit to attend Dispatcher’s training at OCD and found that being underground was not to his liking.
He transferred to the Valley Fire Prevention Bureau’s Brush Clearance Unit in January 1993 on a light duty status.
While working at the Brush Clearance Unit he worked on his first case involving a case of Obsessive Hoarding Disorder with Inspector Mike Theule. After about 6 months of working with persons with the disorder, and seeing that almost all the cases were return visits to the same client, he started to do some research into the behavior of the disorder and as to why so many were return visits.
Dennis found that the practice of using only strong enforcement measures and not attempting to find a fix to the underling modality was almost a guarantee for return visits by Inspectors. Because of his paramedical background, he starting networking with other health care workers to see if by adding mental health components along with enforcement procedures that were already in place, there might be a decrease in the return visits.
After a year Dennis found that he was making less return visits, and had the opportunity to see a significant change. At that time, there was very little research being done regarding "hoarding".
After contacting the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and getting on-the-job training from them, he increased his knowledge base of the disorder.
1994 - Dennis started a media awareness campaign in an attempt to bring the issues into the public view. With public awareness came more and more research into the Hoarding Disorder. The research has singled out the hoarding disorder from being strictly an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as believed in the earlier studies, to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). This is significant as OCPD client’s medication that is sometimes of use with OCD is unresponsive in OCPD clients.
Also in obsessive hoarding disorder the comorbity (the coexistence of two or more related medical conditions) can and most likely make up the multi-characteristics that work against their successful treatment. Thus when it comes to enforcement an Inspector whom has no knowledge of the hoarding behavior will surely fail.
October 1995 - Bogard was promoted to Inspector I, and assigned to the LAFD High-Rise Unit. He continued to handle hoarding issues along with his other duties.
In October 1998 - Dennis was promoted to Inspector II, and City of Los Angeles Fire Marshal Jimmy Hill assigned him to the Legal Liaison Unit so that Inspector Bogard could perform Special Projects involving Nuisance Properties throughout the City of Los Angeles. These properties included the hoarding issues, and problem properties that were beyond the scope of the District Inspector.
By 2006 Inspector Bogard was monitoring more then 1,000 clients with Obsessive Hoarding disorders, and had brought more 20,000 clients into compliance through the use of enforcement, supportive care and a understanding of the disorder.
Dennis has become one of the western United State’s experts in public enforcement and understanding of the Obsessive Hoarding Disorder. He has been a speaker at countless training workshops throughout California, providing awareness to other Fire Departments, Building and Safety Officials and mental health workers. He currently is working to build an interactive network where County Mental Health, Adult Proactive Services, other City, County and State Officials can pool their ideas to help make a change in the lives of Obsessive Hoarding clients throughout the United States.
In November 2006, Inspector Bogard worked with Sera Bell of the Mayor Villaraigosas’ Staff, preparing for the "Day of Service in Watts". He worked tirelessly with staff, Building and Safety, and the 3,000 volunteers in cleaning two properties in the Watts area. He assisted with obtaining the proper Mental Health Care providers to be actively involved with preparing the two elderly individuals, and assisted in helping to providing housing for an 86-year-old man, after the Team and Building and Safety found his dwelling to be beyond repair.
The volunteers removed approximately 1,200 cubic yards of hazardous refuse, rubbish, and overgrown vegetation from the two properties.
Friends, co-workers and many of those touched by Dennis over the years will gather on Friday evening, March 16, 2007 in 'The Starlight Room' at The Castaway Restaurant in Burbank for a fond farewell to a man whose service was above no one, no matter their status or need.
Yes, Dennis Bogard has been - and remains, a genuine inspiration to all who proudly serve you as members of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Thank you Dennis, for your many years of service!
Submitted by Brian Humphrey
Los Angeles Fire Department
Best wishes Bogie, from a then-young Paramedic who was deeply honored to work alongside you, and who smiles to this day from the puzzled looks on peoples faces whenever they paged us by last names over the hospital PA system. -BH-