Two stories in the news this week have prompted investigations in their respective fire departments looking into inappropriate behavior of firefighters. Both cases would probably have been non-issues had it not been for the fact that certain photos found their way online.
One case involves internet photos of Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s face on a roll of toilet paper and Fire Chief James Clack’s face in a toilet bowl. The photos have sparked a number of things:
- Accusations against Baltimore Firefighters Local 734 union president Rick Hoffman that he allowed the images to be circulated without condemnation and what’s more, suspended another union official for informing city officials of the photos
- An official fire department investigation into the matter
- A protest of sorts by some union members against the union
- A public apology by President Hoffman and condemnation of the photos
The second case involves the questionable behavior of several Jacksonville, Florida firefighters who took part in a fundraiser event held at the Whiskey River nightclub to support the family of a firefighter who died while off duty.
The firefighters, wearing turnout gear, engaged in racy (some allege lewd) behavior during the event.
The Jacksonville Fire Rescue started an internal investigation after photos of the event appeared online. JFRD policies prohibits firefighters from wearing anything that identifies themselves as a firefighter in a place that sells alcoholic beverages, unless they’re working in a city capacity.