I am wondering what you all thought about a few things.

1) Should Felons be allowed to be Firefighters?
2) Does your fire department hire felons?
3) If you are a firefighter and you are convicted of a felony, should you be fired?

The reason why I bring this up is because I got an email recently about Richmond (VA) Fire Department hiring.

Apparently, they have dropped the requirements for employment:

* Have no felony convictions for any offense within 60 months preceding the date of application;

I got the information here

I cannot speak for the department if this was an actual drop in requirement or if it has always been this way.

I thought that if you were a felon, you were always a felon. The only way to get a felony off your record is to have the Courts expunge it from your record.

What do you all think?

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depends wat the felony is and how long ago u comited it should be wat they base the choose on if to hire u or not
Excellent way of putting it. Nice job.
Thanks for the comment, but I want to clear something up. I did not give my opinion on the matter. I never said yeah or nay on a firefighter being a felon.

I will say this....

As a career firefighter, I went through a background check, credit check, psychological test, and could have been given a polygraph test. I wonder how felons do answering questions related to their infraction? It certainly can't help their chances.

I do think that hiring felons might become an issue if the local paper did a report on firefighters who were felons and what they did wrong, which I believe might be public record. Reporters sure know how to dig up some dirt.

I agree with a lot of what you said though, and your take might be the most realistic way to go about it if a department decided to. However, I am not sold on it.

Speaking of the selection process, I have a hard time thinking that there wouldn't be plenty of able bodies to fill positions that are not felons.

Oh and...I don't think that hiring non-felons is holding "a ridiculously high standard". Is it really that hard not to become a felon?

I wonder what the Richmond FD uses as acceptable when it comes to felons.
We do not hire or allow people with felony convictions or jail time. City policy. However as volunteers we look at what they may have done and how long ago it occurred with no further problems before we say no. Our State training Division now does background checks on individuals who are applying for State Fire training certification. They will not go back and nail you on your past but if you apply for certification your past convictions will be measured up against state policy and you may find yourself on the outside looking in.
To my knowledge none of the FF at my dept. have any kind of felony charges or convictions. Our dept. also does not have anything about backround checks or felonies when considering them for membership. I've never heard that they have turned anybody away. I personally feel that it depends on the felony and the person. Also if there is a member in good standing that speaks well of the person that helps.
No we do not hire/allow felons to be ff's on our dept. nor should they be allowed to be. Should you be fired if convicted of a felony? yes, of course.

I like the idea of ff's being held to higher standards. No DT, its not some "holier then thou" thing, its not so I can walk around and say "oh I'm a ff, im better then you." Its simply because the fire service is a huge part of my life, I spend more time around my fellow ff's then my own family it seems. I like knowing that I am around a good group of guys and gals that I can trust.

As far as the reviewing on an individual basis thing... it would simply take too much time and lets think about it... any felony is exactly that for a reason, all felony's are serious crimes and should be treated as such. If an individual chooses to break the law in such a serious matter, I choose not to spend the majority of my time with them or place any matter of serious trust (like trusting them with my life) in them.
1) First thought is if you can be a Mayor of a Capitol city or a Sports Icon, Why Not? I have to personally agree with some others on here that it should be taken into account What they did, How long ago they did it, and other thoughts along those lines. There is a line in the Constitution about Double Jepordy as well as the thoughts on being punished more than once for the same crime. Personally, if there is a history of "good clean living" and a "substantial" time has passed, the felon has paid his debt (joke right?) to society, then why not give them a chance, again though, depending on the circumstances of the crime. We are taught historically that a felon is a bad person. But if they have had a mistake or two many many years ago, why continue to punish them if they have seen the errors of their ways and want to better themselves and help the community? But again, this is reliant on the circumstances.

2) I really couldnt answer this one, as I am not in a position to consider applicants

3) If the felony is against the "moral" standards of society, ie: DWI, taking of life, assaulting others, drugs etc, then yes, they should be fired and banned from public service for XX years.

Just my personal thoughts

Wolfy
We have to have background checks done on anyone that applies to our department. As far as letting them on if they have a felony, I am not sure.
Firefighting is a privilege; not a right.
No to #1.
No to #2.
Yes to #3.
I believe in giving people second chances in Life.
Unfortunately, that belief doesn't extend to jobs in public safety.
I would hire them for the company I work for.
I could not hire them for my fire department.
It is what it is.
There are consequences to making poor decisions.
Art
In my home town if convicted of any criminal offence weather pardoned or not (I live in Canada) you cannot even become a volunteer member with the fire dept, I feel this might be a little to strict as most people who apply and are rejected have minor violations on there record such as a assult charge from a drunken bar fight or something simular, I know many people who have been touched by the criminal justice system and reformed that would make excellent firefighters but dont have the opp to do so because of a past issue, Its a shame really i think if the people have been reformed and are willing to give time to a community to pay back a debt owed then let them volunteer, as for career firefighting if a non criminal person applies they should be chosen over the convicted,
Yes, my dept. does conduct background checks. It would be crazy not too.

As for the trust thing, well... all of my officers have told me numerous times that I am one guy that they definatly do trust and one firefighter that they want sitting behind them on every call we run. BTW, I've been pulled over once in my entire life and it was for a broken tail light.

Am I a good judge of character at the age of 20? I think so but lets go with your opinion here and say that I'm not... Even if I'm not, I would say that the federal judicial system is. If they are the ones who decide a person should be found guilty and charged as a felon, I will agree.

Does it take my dept. too much time to review a background check? no. I wasn't talking about my dept. when I said that. I meant the large metrapolitan depts who review thousands of applications a year. If they considered all the apps. where people did admit to a felony charge, they would have to interview all of those people simply based on the fact that they had been charged with that crime to find out the specific's.
Exactly!!!! There are two many people that count on us to be taking chances

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