San Francisco Fire Launches Probe Into Racism at Academy

On the heels of a written complaint submitted by eight firefighter recruits who call themselves the “brave men of color,” the San Francisco Fire Department has launched a formal investigation into the treatment of recruits at the fire academy.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White ordered the investigation following a letter that claimed the eight had been subjected to “retaliatory, demeaning, punishing, and racist/sexist behavior.” A second petition was also submitted to the department by other recruits stating that “each of us is treated fairly, without any indication of racism, sexism, or favoritism.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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