I just read on Stater911 about a FF in Austin TX who was fired for posting naked pics of himself online. He did this on his own time and was fire because it showed poorly against the Austin FD. I don't know if "size" was a factor. But in DC a FF was cooking naked in a firehouse, intoxicated off duty. Nothing has happened and his name has not be given out. Now the reason I bring this up is because 30 African-American FF filed a grievince agianst the DCFD for whites being less punished then blacks for the same instances.

 

In my time I've people come up and talk to me about issues in thier firehouse from being called nigger or hearing nigger/black jokes to be denied driving privliedges. Just recently I heard of a company that had one African-American and while at the company banquet members thought it would be funny to serve him and HIS WIFE, chicken and watermelon. They came to me because I attended the state and county meetings and spoke my mind. While a member of the Recruitment and Retention committee I tried to have them place our booth at the Hispanic and African-American Festivals besides the state fair. No luck. I asked if companies wanted me to contact loal black churches with them to try to get members no luck.

 

I don't paint everyone with the same brush. I've had some very good experiences in the fire serivce. I'm, always welcomes where ever I go whenever I say I'm a FF from Delaware. I've had more bad experiences with the public then the fire service but I know there are problems out there.

 

I ask, "does your company or department reflect your community. Comning from a predominately Black department I'm proud of the fact that we have more white members then whites in the community.

 

My question is - As you look at your department, does it reflect the community? If not have you approached people of color to get them to join, if so how, if not why. Do you think the members of color are treated fairly in your company or department?

 

And lastly, do you think there is still a racial issue in the fire service today?

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Race will always be an issue (along with any number of other demographic-related issues) in the fire service as long as people cling to the theory that the fire service should somehow "reflect" the community it serves.
My FD has firefighters.
Frankly, I don't care if they are male, female, black, white, red, yellow, brown, green blue, purple, straight, gay, bisexual, catholic, protestant, buddhist, jewish, muslim, zorastrian, agnostic or atheist.

I want the best and the brightest who are capable of and want to do the job.

The only community reflection I want is pride in the job.
you didn't list christian does that mean you wouldn't like me Ron??? LOL
I'm not sure how to comment to that Craig i just can't believe that it just still happens in todays society.I personally grew up with alot of Black folk and i never had a problem with hanging out with them.We do not have any on our department but I am quite sure that if one wanted to join he would be easily accepted.
incidents aside for a moment, race relations in the fire service in my opinion is a continious evolving subject because of misconceptions, fear beliefs and recent rulings. I can recall a period in my carrear when I was denied promotion because (Black Captain, White 1st LT, and Black 2nd Lt"me") would be called an "oreo officership" and that was an undesireable sight to the department at the time-(yes i was told that to my face). I thought that the best and brightest get promoted and "boy was I wrong" (and this was in the northeast). when I relocated to the south, "i knew what to expect" but to my surprise i was accepted for my abilities and my skin color was not a factor as i progressed up the chain.

Now back to the issue. Dicipline is supposoed to be applied equally and consistantly to everyone but lately I have seen that the circumstances dictate the dicipline (IE)-a group of firefighters getting drunk while wearing FD shirts at a convention out of state gets a finger wiggle but the same bunch doing it in town gets fired?... fair?... Its the same offence and the department is harmed, but why is out of state is less offencive?"...I know, bad example and spelling.

Bad behavour off duty and out of uniform? i'm not sure but i would tell a guy to use the fact that what you do off duty "as long as it is not a crime" is really none of the departments business and see how that goes but again i see that "severity of the offence" is factored into the punishment. department harm is measured how?..by perception i guess. but every time i hear a story, i need more details, cooking naked in a firehouse? ok, whats the specifics? if its a criminal offence, he's gone, but (forgive me-you know how us lawyer types are) If the department does not have rule against cooking naked, who got harmed? (i know the answer)...case in point, a lawyer here in Florida got busted driving naked in his own car. He beat it because Florida had no law preventing anyone from driving naked in a car, only being naked in public and he never got out of the car until he was arrested so he broke no law because he was stopped for a traffic offence and "discovered" driving naked and was charged with that by the police. no civilian saw him or complained, so no foul.

My point i guess is that when you do some bonehead thing, you should be prepaired to face the music if you dont use good judgement before doing it. i've been involved in some antics that were close to the edge but using disproportion of race as a defence? cant see that workin. Any department dealing with a dicipline issue that asks, "did we punish the same amout of white guys before we punish this black one?" is...oh i dont want to go there. if you did it and got busted, playing the race card signals despiation unless 10 white guys got a pass on murder and a black guy with a parking ticket gets fired
Bad behavour off duty and out of uniform? i'm not sure but i would tell a guy to use the fact that what you do off duty "as long as it is not a crime" is really none of the departments business and see how that goes.......................If the department does not have rule against cooking naked, who got harmed?

My point i guess is that when you do some bonehead thing, you should be prepaired to face the music if you dont use good judgement before doing it.

You kind of answered your own response Russ. Really such an incident such as posting nude pics, cooking naked, etc while off duty.....while it may not be a criminal offense, it can be grounds for dismissal. The grounds for such fall with conduct and professional appearance, etc. While the issues are off duty, when the incident is made public (IE indecent exposure, posting pics on the internet) it does show the dept and employee in a bad light and that can be the grounds for punishment. Basically, there does not have to be clear cut rules on every type of issue/incident, nor does there have to be criminal type of offense to be grounds for dismissal.
"does your company or department reflect your community

Nope. Predominantly white male, a few women, and a few Native Americans.

I agree with WP here that when such theories are maintained that the dept should reflect the community, rather than best candidate, there will be race issues.


As you look at your department, does it reflect the community? If not have you approached people of color to get them to join, if so how, if not why. Do you think the members of color are treated fairly in your company or department?

We are an EO employer, but we also have high standards to get on. Education and certs are paramount to get a job here. One has to have at least an AS degree in Fire Science, FF1 and 2 certs, and paramedic. With such standards, we are not getting tons of applicants who meet the criteria. In majority of such schools offering these certs, the class make up there is predominantly white male (for fire degree) and there are some more women for paramedic, but minorities in general are not taking the classes.

So, while we have high standards, they are not inachievable either, I wouldn't want to see a reduction in standards just to meet a "community reflection". So when it does come to recruitment, there really isn't an approach to get people to test for the job...the encouragement is to pursue the education needed, but there really aren't many minorities pursuing such education.

With these standards though, you know the person has an idea of what the job entails, you have people dedicated to pursuing the job, and you know they are coming in certified to do the job. This makes a training academy period shorter than other places and there really isn't an issue with people failing out. The bar is set high from the start and if a person meets the qualifications, it is difficult to claim a bias or have race/minority issues.

Our promotional system right now is also a straight seniority system. While it isn't perfect, there aren't issues about testing bias and so forth which has also run the gamut in the news.
Ron, I'm with you entirely!
If I've said it once, then I've said it a thousand times, racing to the fire is not a good idea. Oh wait a minute, you are referring to the other race thing which for California and Hawaiian firefighters at least is a non-issue.

Aloha!
CBz
I come from a small town deparment in a mostly white community, we had one black person show interest since I have been around... Deff had the cards stacked against them

She was trying to become our first female explorer and our first member of a different race.
I dont know how excepting some our members would have been....

Though she never came back with the application... which is a shame because it would have been great to have more females interested!
naked + internet = distribution of porn = grounds for dismissal
you are right John i was trying to to be saterical and i guess i didnt express myself very well. i thank you for correcting me...what i mean is i have seen guys recieving psudo punishment for things their wives or kids have done which have nothing to do with the department or race. a guy got "reviewed" because his "really hot wife" participated in a bikini contest and it was mentioned during her walk that her husband was in the FD and somebody complained. Now here's the kicker, the chief who raised the question happened to be black and the his response was "would he have investigated if the firefighterr was black?

The occurance blew over (no foul) "what a surprise" but it caused a race rift rift between the guys and in my opinion should never had department time wasted on an investigation that had nothing to do with an offence against the department. i thought it was personal and the fallout was every accusation against a firefighter no matter what the offence was had race attached to it.

when i got involved in a situation directly involving race between me and something a commissoner said, (then denied--then several witnessess came forward) the fallout from that (while the investigation was being swept under the rug) was massive. i knew going in that it was going to be swept but the fallout was everything involving that guy from that day on had me and race attached to it in the form of, "an administrator got away with it, why cant i skate on this?" that sucked for me. because the focus of any offence should be what was done and not what race was involved. if a black guy uses race as an excuse and skates, what happens when a white guy does something and skates? not good for anyone...i know i didnt use good or clear examples...can i get a pass because i'm black?...(just kidding-"Jeez")

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