ST MARYS, Ga. (AP) — Officials in southeast Georgia are considering a money-saving program that would put inmates in fire stations. The Florida Times-Union reports (http://bit.ly/nZbutT) that the program would put two inmates in each of three existing firehouses in Camden County.
Times are tough and many departments, career and volunteer, are having a hard time maintaining even minimum staffing. Is this Georgia plan even worth the risk when considering public image and public relations?
They are not replacing paid FF’s, they are not employees. This is actually creating jobs for paid FF’s where they have never had them before. The inmates go through a screening process and again not everyone is allowed into this program.
I will be doing an interview with FFN later today. I will explain what the program is and is not, I will answer the questions and concerns. Believe me we have been run through the mill and this is not a half hazard program. The program has been in effect for over two years now. None and I repeat none of the fears and accusations have come to light. The public has brought up all of these same concerns and the vast majority has seen this is a great program. I say most because you cannot please everyone, and that goes with anything. There are many all over the country that do not believe in the fire department or see the need period. That is with or without this program.
I have been manager and an officer for many a year. Babysitting has always been a big part of the job, some more than others. But, these guys police themselves, they won’t let someone mess this program up for them.
As far as the training goes it is a class to teach you what these guys are allows and not allowed to do. If you have a problem you just send them back in, that simple.
Its a trust issue. I cant see my crew all the time.... like when they are looking for a pts meds... but I trust they wont take any.
And another thought just hit me.... what do we tell the hundreds of good non-inmates that didnt pass their background check due to a poor credit score or too many traffic tickets or some other non-jailable offense?
My department uses inmates that are on work release to do cleaning and other "busy work" at the FRA. I dont like that but I think its a better idea than putting them on the street.
My volley company decided to trust someone with a known criminal record of theft by allowing her to hold a president position. click here to see that result http://www.wbaltv.com/news/29208647/detail.html
Firefighters and medics have the public trust and I feel we will lose some of that if they know inmates are riding with us.
I thought one of the characteristics of a FF was Pride, another one being Integrity?
I'm busting my ass to get this badge, why should crims get the honour?