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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Paul,

One should not be judged on one event of their entire lives! What one person did 15 or 20 years ago should not matter. I have heard the aruments that there are plenty of people who have never committed a felony and I tell you what, I would rather have a person helping me with a felony on his record from many many years ago if that person is more knowledgable than the non felon.....

Would you rather have a non felon paramedic with 6 months experience trying to save your life or your kids life compared with a medic with 20 years experience and an awesome track record, but he committed a felony 25 years ago? I know would pick the guy with the most experience and would care less what happened 25 years ago!!!!!!
eric nelson,

What felony were you convicted of?
Ok so we have the points of view from alot of Fire Fighters. Now may I have a chance?

My name is Andrew and when I was 17 I learned some stupid stuff on the internet, Keeping it short I was able to generate random credit card numbers which were used to purchase items from the internet which I then sold to pay my bills (Mother had just died and I had no job). I was severely depressed at the time and wasnt thinking clearly but needless to say shortly after I turned 18 I was approached by a city cop, He asked me to come downtown to answer some questions and I agreed, Upon arival they asked me if I knew anything about COMPANY A (Leaving name out for privacy issues) and if I had aquired any merchandise from them. Without even thinking I signed over my rights and told them what I had done, I then spent 30 days in county jail waiting to see a judge, I went before the judge and plead guilty and was given 5 years SIS (Suspended Imposition of Sentence - Or in some states a Deferred Sentence) and supervised probation. This was 3.5 years ago, I have 1.5 Years left on probation, I have served 3.5 Years with no violations and have participated in T4C (Thinking for a Change) classes hosted by probation that last a minimum of 14 weeks. My life long goal has been to become a Fireman ever since the age of 3 when I first saw the movie "Backdraft" which I watched so much it was worn in 6 months and was time for a new copy :D. Anyway back on topic, I have wanted nothing more than to become a "VOLUNTEER" fire fighter to help serve my community and try to repay some of what I have done, I have read alot of comments on here saying how NO FELON should be allowed to enter the fire service or any public service for that matter, However I feel differently and can provide a different prospective on it! I am currently pushing for legislature in WY that would allow felons with NON VIOLENT offenses to become volunteer fire fighters, West Virginia passed a similar law in Feb 2010 that now allows felons to become volunteers due to lack of non-criminal offenders not wanting to join the ranks. I want to be a fire fighter for one purpose, To save lives and property when they are in danger, I was reminded ever so much of this in 2006 when my mother passed away, I had came home from work and found her not breathing in the living room, I was living in a small city of about 8K people and at the time I was not trained in CPR/First Aid, I panicked and was not sure what to do so I seeked my neighbor a former USAF member for help and called 911, However it took 8 minutes for the first responder to arrive on scene (A Police officer) and another 2 minutes for a police officer with a defibrilator to arrive, It took nearly 12 minutes for the fire department to show up and almost 20 for the ambulance, Now keep in mind this is a SMALL TOWN of less than 2 miles across and that is how long it took to get a response for a non-breathing call, I watched my only parent die at 16 years old. I then was a lost person deep in depression and lost my job, was unable to pay bills and turned my computer knowledge to the worst @ 17, I regret everyday what I did but it is not something I can take back, And now 3.5 years after the crime I committed (was listed as a Class C Felony for Theft) I tried to join my local VFD only to be denied because of my ONE TIME run in with the law when I was a young dumb teenager without guidance. I feel I do deserve a second chance at showing this world what I am made of, and for me becoming a fireman would allow me to do this with honor and the fact I would be doing something I am more than passionate for! I mean can you honestly think for one second that my intentions would be any of the things below:

A.) Enter a burning building with the explicit intention of stealing something.
B.) Responding to a medical emergency with the intention of stealing something.
C.) Responding to any non-emergency situation with the intention of stealing something.

If you can answer yes to any of the above then my friend you are sadly mistaken, I would enter a burning building to save a life/property. I would respond to a medical emergency to prevent the heartache I had to endure as a teenager. I would respond to any non-emergency to assist the person with whatever they needed.

I currently am a yearly volunteer for Cheyenne Frontier Days which is one of the largest outdoor rodeos and hosts of music stars (This year: Kiss, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and a few others) I have volunteered for my local salvation army, Tried the Red Cross but was told to go away cause of my felony. It just goes to show that YES there are a FEW BAD APPLES that will do bad again in their lifes, BUT there are good people who just had a rough time in life who are itching to prove they have changed and are ready to lead normal lifes, My question to you is:

Q.) Would YOU give me that second chance if you knew everything I had told you face to face when I applied everything I wrote above?

A.) You tell me!

Thanks for taking the time to read my long .02!

Drew S.
By your reasoning a felony is a crime, than anyone convicted of a misdemeanor should also be disqualified, after all a misdemeanor is also a crime. Some crimes may be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depends on some circumstances; how, where and when the crime occurred.
My department you must sign for a back ground check and drug test. We are a total vollunteer department. If you have had a felony in ten years it is not likely you will get on.
One of are last rounds of new folks. We had a lady that stole $50 bucks from a officer and it was all on tape. We have also had people want on that have active warrants. I would not want them in my house would you? So why would we put in someone else's home?
Yes but look at what you just said:

1. Active Warrants - This means recent crimes and shows no trust.

2. Stealing $50 from another person hurts them.

My crime was all digital and reflected no harm to any person, Yes I was able to get computer parts and sell them for rent money, But I now have to pay back 2x that amount in Money to the company for restitution.
Hey Rhett, we're a combination department and don't allow anyone with a felony conviction on either side. Our service is built on one of trust. Just about every shift I work, I find myself in someone's apartment with a pile of cash or something of value just laying out. It always strikes me when I see a firefighter we have dismissed due to a felony conviction show up with a neighboring mutual aid department.

I've heard all of the arguments that once they pay their debt to society, they "should be" rehabilitated. However, in reality, what happens when they have a relapse? Your credibility goes down the toilet! Like we need any more idiots to tarnish our image.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3PKrj3SvA0
Drew please watch this both parts don't just blow it off. Part 2 is in the side bar. This is what I make are new guys sit down and watch before any training starts.
Now I believe you are truly wanting to be a firefighter and I think you can do it. But you have to understand life makes everyone a little sceptical as they age. Now a firefighter see's the bottom of every nasty thing that happens. We see more in a week than most see in a lifetime. This make us even more sceptical. You have to earn trust as much as we would like to just give it we just can't, it's something thats earned.
Stay straight keep helping where you can. Prove your salt and I think you will get your chance.
Don't let the term VOLUNTEER make you think that it is a half jack dept with less of a standard. I am a volunteer and my training was the same as paid guys. In class you could not tell one from firefighter from another.
Once felons have been released from prison and have been released from parole then they should be afforded the same rights as every other citizen! If this person can still not be trusted in society then they should still be in prison! Some felons make mistakes at the age of 18 and were non violent crimes and they should not have to have this held over their head for their whole lives which could be 80 more years!

I really believe that once a felon has stayed out of trouble for 15 years then the felony becomes sealed to the general public. The 15 year clock would not start until the person was released from prison and parole! If you guys think felons can never ever be trusted again then maybe they should be locked up for the rest of their lives or even be put to death! Someone who steals a car at 18 or hacks into a computer should not be judged for the rest of their lives!
For the record I never stole a car or hacked into a computer. I do have a felony on my record and you can go back a few months a read about it if you like! Its actually a unique case!
I know that our Department was told by the state fire marshall himself that no felon was allowed on any department paid or volunteer.
@ John --- Loved the videos, It talks about everything that a fire fighter stands for and that is exactly what I want to do, Represent the Fire Dept with a good name not a bad one, I just have to be given the chance to do so.

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