Georgia Firefighter Terminated For Cellphone Video of Dead Woman

The Spalding County, Georgia firefighter who took and forwarded a brief video clip of a dead woman at an accident scene on July 17, 2010, has been terminated. Here's the news coverage of the termination.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
  • John W. Varone

    This is a sad display of how modern technology, which can be used to enhance our task performance, also has the potential for misuse. Camera phones provide our professions with a quick means to disseminate images and document our observations. Yet, this incident reenforces the concern that we fail to implement policy and procedures as quickly as we incorporate technological advances into our jobs.
    In 2009 a police officer from a department in Southeastern Connecticut was terminated for taking and disseminating cell phone images of a suicide scene, to civilians and officers who were not involved in the investigation. The officer was terminated based on charges covering conduct. This sent a strong message to the officers in the region that although no specific policy was in place, this conduct is unacceptable and is considered a termination offense.

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