Horn Blowing Prompts FOI Requests Prompting Risk of Walkout by Firefighters

An elected official in Illinois says she is tired of being harassed by volunteer firefighters sounding their horns when they drive fire apparatus by her house. However, according to the fire chief her strategy may prompt many members of the department to quit in protest.

Albion City Alderwoman Karen Shupe has filed two Freedom of Information Act requests with the City of Albion requesting documents from the Albion Volunteer Fire Department that she hopes will help her discover who was driving the apparatus at the times when the horns were blown. Last week she asked for the records of all fire department meetings and activities since last April.

The Navigator Journal is reporting that Fire Chief Kent Nale is concerned that Shupe’s strategy may lead to a mass walkout by firefighters. Shupe and the firefighters have been at odds for some time, with the firefighters claiming she has been “sticking her nose” where it doesn’t belong, and her contending the way the fire department runs is a matter of concern to her and her constituents.

More on the story.

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.
  • Legeros

    Just how public is the business of the public?

    Great question posed by the story. Probably makes most chief officers uncomfortable, imagining anyone with a position of disagreement having access to that type of departmental information.

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