On another board I'm on there was a discussion about prisoners out west fighting fires. Everyone was saying what a good job they were doing. But we won't let people with felonies in the fire service. Delaware recently passed a law concerning this. If it's okay for hard core prisoners to go out and fight fires why can't someone who made a mistake 5-10-15 years okay and has been clean ever since do it?

Am I the only one with a issue about this?

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I agree why not.. We all make mistakes. Some more than others lol.... It's a hard ques..When we make mistakes that are maybe not the ones to send us to jail,but we always want a sec chance... I'm not for sure what the answer is . how bad was the crime drugs. murder big difference.. Hummmmmmmm it a thinker...
Prisoners are fighting fires as community service...that is a PR ploy by the Dept of Corrections and they are watched by armed guards constantly.....a person with a felony conviction has shown a disregard for the law and the community and therefore cannot be trusted.....the only difference in the 2 is that one is serving their time and the other HAS served their time.....We have more than enough honest law abiding people applying for a very limited number of positons that we shouldn't change policies because someone has hurt feelings or feeling of shame for what they did by choice.....Has anyone heard someone tell them that some decisions will follow you a lifetime....? A felony conviction is one of those decisions....Undestand a "felony" is the mose serious of crimes against our communities..a "misdeamor" is more like a prank....(simplified to the max I know) Stay safe...Keep the Faith....Paul
Our Dept. just modified our applications to include a criminal and child abuse background check, The primary reason behind our checks is our school district requires anyone working with the children in the district to have them. We do quite a lot of work with our district on fire safety.

I think these checks are a good thing when the results are handled appropriately. Discresion has to be used when reviewing the results.
we have inmate firefighters in GA...they have 2 meet certain requirments 2 be in the program but the guys train all the time & really know what they are doing
Craig, good point Bro. However, the difference here is available resources to fight wildland fires versus every day EMS and Fire calls. We have the same issue in Oregon. You cant be certified (State requirement) to meet NFPA standards if your a convicted felon. Actually you can be on a Fire Department if the agency allows you but you still cant get certified as NFPPA Firefighter I or ect. In Oregon and California the State uses convict firefighters quite a bit. Still say its just a cheap resource issue Bro. As Chief here I would look at your background and how long ago your issue was and what type before I would close the door on you. Your right Bro, we all have made mistakes and learned from them. And we shouldn't have to pay for them for the rest of our lives. Dont give up Bro.
You're right Craig, there seems to be a double standard out there. I agree, if they're good enough to fight fires when they're prisoners, then why can't they become firefighters once they've paid their debt to society and get out of prison? I also think it should depend on what the felony was. Was it drugs, or murder, or simply a white collar crime? You'd probably have to look at each one one a case by case basis. Stay safe!
The difference is that of supervison by the penal system and relative risk.

Prisoners typically don't fight structure fires where they have the temptation to walk off with OPP.
When they do, they're directly supervised by the penal system.
Staying clean while on the fire line is a pretty good incentive - it gets the prisoners out of prison, puts them to work doing something challenging, productive, and beneficial, and can often increase their chances of early parole. Once they're on the outside, none of these things are directly involved except for the challenging/productive/beneficial part.

Municipal firefighters are entrusted with OPP on a daily basis, sometimes without direct supervision.
With most hire lists being much longer than the opening list, it's pretty unusual for a career department to chance it with a felon when they can hire numerous non-felons first.

I'm a believer in justice, tempered with mercy, and with rational risk-taking.
A lot of fire chiefs don't think that mercy trumps the rational risk-taking part of the hire process.
Hehehe...he said, "penal"! (Sorry, couldn't resist)

You made an excellent point though: Why hire a felon when there's so many non-felons to be had?
Moreover, the prisoner's are the state's financial responsibility, and we may as well let them do something productive to help offset the costs of keeping them incarcerated. Once they're paroled or have completed their sentence, then their cost to the taxpayers drops considerably.

If they can then obtain employment with a state or federal wildland firefighting agency and stay within the law, I'm all for it. Local employment as a structural firefighter...not so much
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm while i think that there are many out there who make mistakes, mistakes are not usually what I think of when I think of "felonies".

In California the penal Code defines a crime as follows:

CPC 15

A crime or public offense is an act commited or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or demanding it upon conviction of which may be punishable as follows: Death, imprisonment, Fine< removal from office or disqualification to hold or enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit in this state.

Seems pretty simple. Upon conviction not allowed to hold office. It does NOT say if you serve your time your good to go, or made a mistake or any other such silliness.

In California we use "inmate" crews on wildland fires. Yes, it is cheap labor. This is similar to chain gangs, where prison authorities are guarding the crews at ALL times. They eat seperate, shower, sleep etc ALL seperate...WHY? Because they still ARE NOT trusted!!!!!

Im curious. Which one of these fine convicted felons would you like to share quarters with upon their release from prison?

Murderer...Took someone elses life
Arsonist...Started fires for profit or joy
Rapist...Forced sex acts on another
Burgler...Broke into YOUR home to deprive you of your things
Robber...Forced you to give him money by way of fear..

The list of course goes on. So which of these shall we forgive because they did some time...

Another scenario:

Fire candidate "A" went to a junior college fire program, became an EMT, work as a volunteer and now wants to join a large paid department.

Fire candidate "B" went to jail and served on an inmate crew...

Who shall we hire?

What if we hire "B" afterall he has proven experience!

Where do we draw the line?

Mistakes are just that...MISTAKES....

FELONs have been or should be in prison...NOT working in a fire house
We, the Fire Service, is the most trusted and respected profession around. We start hiring people with felony convictions in their past will have an adverse effect on that status. Sorry I like the rule the way it is.
I agree why should we pass judgement on someone who has made a mistake. My fathers Dept. has a mutual aid agreement with a womens minimum security prison, that has a fire dept. I have gone on some calls with his dept when the Prisons fire dept came out to assist and they did an outstanding job. Those women may have made mistakes in their lives but if they are willing to risk their lives to save another who are we to say no. Now im not saying that i personaly would be comfortable having a murderer on the hose line with me, but lesser offences would be easier to deal with. Thats my 2 cents on the subject.

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