Akron Firefighters Can’t Catch A Break

I hate to pile’on…. but since the news couldn’t get much worse for the Akron Fire Department following yesterday’s firehouse porn video revelation, why not get all the bad news over with at once.

Former IAFF Local 330 treasurer Joseph Ruhlin, 41, was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for stealing an estimated $500,000 from his brother and sister firefighters. Ruhlin, who initially fled to North Carolina, pled guilty in January.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Breaux ordered Ruhlin to pay $385,000 in restitution to Local 330. More on the story.

By the way, this kind of insider theft is NOT unusual. We see a lot of embezzlement from firefighters’ unions…  and we see even more insider theft from volunteer fire organizations. The trust that firefighters have for each other makes us vulnerable to being victimized by the unscrupulous among us. Remember President Reagan’s admonishment “Trust… but verify.” We have to have prudent checks and balances in place no matter how much we trust other firefighters.

And here is the latest on yesterday’s headline on the porn video:

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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