Amsterdam Firefighters Believed To Be Behind Death Threats To Fire Chief

Prosecutors in the Netherlands are investigating death threats that have been made against the fire chief in Amsterdam. Leen Schaap, a former police chief who was brought in as fire chief to address some serious cultural problems within the Amsterdam Fire Department, reportedly received the death threats from his own firefighters.

Chief Schapp has been under police protection since the threats first surfaced in February and March of this year. No arrests have been made but numerous firefighters have been interviewed as the investigation continues.

Former Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan brought Chief Schapp in to address the fire department’s “closed culture in which racism, discrimination and bullying take place”.  According to the Telegraph: “Mr. Schaap’s attempts to modernise the city’s fire brigade has been met with resistance, with the disharmony and division in the department spilling out into negative national press coverage and some firefighters reportedly barring him from entering their barracks.”

Amsterdam’s new mayor, Femke Halsema, has promised the investigation into the threats will be a “priority” for her administration. 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.
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