1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    1

    Default Convicted felons on your dept?

    Hi,
    What is departmental policy (paid or volunteer) if it is discovered that one of your firefighters is a convicted felon?
    Last edited by southwestff; 04-30-2003 at 12:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    54

    Default

    After having a man in our department convicted of molesting his grand daughter we voted to remove him from the company. He had to return all equiptment to the fire company and take all items of his vehicle the identified him with the fire company. This was done after he was convited and sentenced. We then started requiring a background checks for all new members. If you fail the background check we give your money back.
    ASST.102
    The few the proud the firefighters from 102

    I.A.C.O.J.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    481

    Default

    With all of the privacy laws, how are you running a privacy check? Are you allowed to go to local LEO's and have them run the name? That would be illegal in most states.

    You charge money to be on your department? Now there's a thought. Do you charge by the day or mile or run?

    More seriously, we have only discussed this in terms of an applicant with a prior record of a felony. We would reject anyone with a burglary type record. We had not discussed sex crimes.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Originally posted by Sleuth
    With all of the privacy laws, how are you running a privacy check? Are you allowed to go to local LEO's and have them run the name? That would be illegal in most states.

    You charge money to be on your department? Now there's a thought. Do you charge by the day or mile or run?

    More seriously, we have only discussed this in terms of an applicant with a prior record of a felony. We would reject anyone with a burglary type record. We had not discussed sex crimes.
    So you'd keep a person out because he broke into a building, but if he sexually abused a child you'd welcome him in?

    I can't believe we're talking about this again. Listen, this time.

    When a person is given an application, he is also provided a consent to release information form, which he signs and returns. The application also includes all of the applicant's past employers, department and three references. Someone on the FD is charged with the responsibility to actually follow up on the application and:

    1. Run the criminal history
    2. Run the driver's license
    3. Run a credit check
    4. Submit fingerprints
    5. Call all past employers
    6. Call all references
    7. Investigate all discrepenices

    Keep good documentation and have the person conducting the background check write a report. If the applicant is no good, don't accept him. If he lies, forget him.

    As far as felony convictions are concerned, in NJ, a person cannot hold an official position, including Vol. FF, if they have a felony conviction. The key is documentation and actually doing the background.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    481

    Default

    George, cool your jets and read my post! I said that we had not discussed an applicant with a sex crime conviction. Not that we would accept him/her.

    In most states, you cannot run a criminal history unless the person is applying for a government job. Vol. FF is not considered such a position. New Jersey is different (and I know that!).

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    A municipal POC or Volly FF is a govt JAY-O-BEE........ so you can do them ...... in a private sector I dont know what to tell you. I can also say that in our dept you must be an EMT and a FF if you are a convicted felon our State doesnt let you keep your certification and henceforth you could not be on the department for that reason ...
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    sconfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Summerville, SC
    Posts
    836

    Default

    In South Carolina we have recently addressed this matter. A bill "S390" was passed into law. The law may be read in its complete form at this link: SC Firefighter Employment and Registration Act

    There are several links to more information on this page.

    The main part on "offenses committed" and "records check" reads...

    TITLE 40.
    PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
    CHAPTER 80.
    EMPLOYMENT AND REGISTRATION OF FIREFIGHTERS
    SECTION 40-80-20.
    Criminal records check required for employment.
    [SC ST SEC 40-80-20]

    (A)(1) Prior to employment of any firefighter, paid or volunteer, the fire chief or other employer must ensure that each prospective firefighter undergoes a criminal records check conducted by a law enforcement agency.

    (2) The cost of the criminal records check must not exceed eight dollars.

    (3) A criminal records check is not required for a firefighter employed as of June 30, 2001, if the firefighter is employed with the same fire department that he was employed with on June 30, 2001. Upon separation from the fire department that he was employed with on June 30, 2001, a firefighter must comply with the provisions of Section 40-80-40.

    (B)(1) After June 30, 2001, a person must not perform firefighting duties in South Carolina if the person has been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to:

    (a) a felony;

    (b) arson or any other offense provided in Article 3, Chapter 11, Title 16; or

    (c) an offense involving a controlled substance as provided for in Chapter 53, Title 44.

    (2) The prohibition in item (1) of this subsection applies for a period of ten years after the conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

    After the expiration of the ten-year period, it is within a fire chief's or other employer's discretion to determine whether or not to allow a person with a criminal record to perform firefighting duties.
    ***********

    I hopes this helps.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
    www.legacyofheroes.org
    www.firehistory.org
    www.sconfire.com

  8. #8
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Post Here in the Sovereign Nation of Maryland.....

    We DO run background checks. The same sworn investigators who do full time employment checks do the same for volunteer applicants. Our checks involve MILES, WALES, and FBI among others (George knows who the alphabet soup is). If you get past this step OK, then you move on to the Physical exam (That's another thread in it's own area) The only way we could have a convicted felon on the rolls is that the individual would have had to come in as a volunteer member prior to about 1975 when our current system was implemented, and, would have had to kept anything like this hidden very carefully. AND, yes, people do pay to be a member of our organization. We are organized as a non-profit corporation, we raise funds as a charitable group, own property, provide services to the community, all under Maryland's Charitable organization laws. To be a member of the organization, you pay $5.00 per year dues until you have twenty years on, at which time you are honored with life membership, which, among other things, means you are exempt from further dues. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    NCRSQ751's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    Clemmons, NC
    Posts
    199

    Default NC

    In NC we can also run driving and background checks. We require them of everyone coming in, and run them again every three years after that. We also require members to report any driving violations or other arrests immediately - depending on what it is they may be suspended or not (i.e. if they have a bad tail light it's one thing, a DUI arrest is another).

    And before anyone says it - we don't throw people out for an arrest, however we do have the right to suspend them from driving priviledges pending the outcome of a trial (law + our own stated rules and regulations which they must agree to in writing to be a member).

    Anyone that has a felony on their record when coming in is not automatically disqualified. They cannot even turn in an application unless it's been more than 5 years since the termination of any imposed "sentance" i.e. jail, probation, community service, whatever. If it's a violent felony or has to do with domestic abuse they cannot get a state certification for anything we do so that disqualifies them. If it's a DUI or DUAI they are automatically precluded from EVER driving any apparatus (Insurance) so that severely limits them.

    In the end if they make it past everything they are evaluated by their recommendations, personality and anything else that turns up in the checkout process. Make sure you have responsible people in positions to make these decisions. So far we've only made one mistake in this process and we're still paying for it..
    Susan Lounsbury
    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
    Griffith Volunteer FD

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Having recently gone through the screening process I can confirm that in NJ applicants have to go through a Police/FBI background check. It says somewhere on the application to join that the applicant agrees to the background check and that you've never been convicted of any crime involving 'moral turpitude', also. Not sure what would happen if a current member was convicted, but would expect they'd be kicked out pronto.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Dickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,111

    Default

    here in Wisconsin we also do background checks. We have a waiver form attached to the application. My Dept. checks all that George listed except the fingerprints, we don't take fingerprints. If they do not accept to release this information we don't hire them.

    Department policy says that if you are convicted of a "crime" you may be subject to dismissal, regardless of a misdemeanor or felony conviction. You also must maintain a valid driver's license. If you loose your license, you are temporarily suspended and reviewed. If you are convicted of a crime, you are terminated. In Wisconsin, drunk driving 2nd offense and up is a crime as well as some other traffic related things too.

    We have had guys in the past loose their license and have been suspended until they are valid again. One guy this happened to three times and on the third time he was terminated. A few years ago, a guy was arrested for retail theft, misdemeanor theft, and was terminated.

    We really don't screw around in this day and age.
    __________________________
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    211

    Post A fine line

    In NYS there is a fine line between what may be deemed needed information and inappropriate inquiries. We are redoing our by-laws and membership application.It has been an eye opening process. The NYS Human Rights Law prohibits pre-employment and other certain enquiries as to race,creed,color, national origin,sex,age,disability,marital status,and/or ARREST RECORDS unless based on a BONA FIED OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION.
    Bona fied occupatonal qualificatons are attributes material to job performance. This translates that we can only inquire if the person making application has a conviction for arson.
    You may ask," Have you ever been convicted of a crime. Give details." However,an applicant may not be denied because of a conviction record unless ther is a direct relationship between the the offense and the job or unless hiring would be an unreasonable risk.
    *Reference:Village Law:Sec10-1006,SubSec-18...Town Law Sec176-b,Sub sec16...Not For Profit Corp. Law: Sec1402,sub-sec(c)(4).
    You can be denied or have revoked a professional license (nursing,pharmacy,MD,therapists,etc)if you have a felony conviction. However,firefighting doesn't fall in that category.
    Another tid-bit.... It is lawful to request if an applicant posseses a NYS driver's license. But, it is unlawful to demand they produce such a license. Don't ya just love it?

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Berks County, PA
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Our township requires all three fire companies to run criminal records checks on all applicants, and (contrary to what most people probably would expect), the township police take care of these for us, with the township picking up the tab.

    No felons allowed, and that's all there is to it...

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rural Iowa
    Posts
    3,106

    Default

    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI

    1. Run the criminal history
    2. Run the driver's license
    3. Run a credit check
    4. Submit fingerprints
    5. Call all past employers
    6. Call all references
    7. Investigate all discrepenices

    Keep good documentation and have the person conducting the background check write a report. If the applicant is no good, don't accept him. If he lies, forget him.

    As far as felony convictions are concerned, in NJ, a person cannot hold an official position, including Vol. FF, if they have a felony conviction. The key is documentation and actually doing the background.
    Vol FF is an "official position"? Hardly. Leadership such as the chief, perhaps. Grunt NO.

    What possible justification is there for a organization poking their busy body nose into ones credit record? Just idle curiousity? Perhaps you also need credit card numbers and ATM access codes? How about BS personality job tests? Swear they don't own a firearm?

    Fingerprints? Further BS. Perhaps tolerance in metro areas for such unjustifiable and intrusive snooping big brother activities is high but still not justified in a free nation.

    You the same guys that complain about lack of volunteer FFs?

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    381

    Wink Just a thought

    Maybe convicted felons are not a bad idea, Lets see:
    B&E = Reduced forceable entry.
    Grand theft auto = New Chiefs car.
    Bank robbery = New custom cab pumper.
    Sex offender = Food for the station dog.

    and so on!!!
    Have a good day

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Originally posted by neiowa


    Vol FF is an "official position"? Hardly. Leadership such as the chief, perhaps. Grunt NO.

    What possible justification is there for a organization poking their busy body nose into ones credit record? Just idle curiousity? Perhaps you also need credit card numbers and ATM access codes? How about BS personality job tests? Swear they don't own a firearm?

    Fingerprints? Further BS. Perhaps tolerance in metro areas for such unjustifiable and intrusive snooping big brother activities is high but still not justified in a free nation.

    You the same guys that complain about lack of volunteer FFs?

    Excuse me. By NJ State Statute, a FF IS an official position. If it is not in IA, I don't care. My post clearly stated "In NJ...".

    Now for the other section of your post. Please explain to me two things:

    1. What right does a FF have to apply for an official position, one that is clearly a position of trsut, and not have his background checked?

    2. Why would a FD want to retain a person who is a convicted felon as a FF?

    Being a FF is a privelage. If you don't want your background checked, don't apply.

    BTW, a "credit check is used quite succesfully by investigators to determine when an individual is a security risk. It will also turn up information that will verify info on the application.

    I have stated here many times that a background check is only as good as the person conducting it. Talking to past employers and references one-on-one is the cherry on top of the cake in a background.

    Not valid? Tell you what. I'll conduct a background on you. I guarantee, with the proper authorizations, I will know every single solitary thing there is to know about you in 15 days. Guaranteed.

    Seems like you got a little trouble with authority man.

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    481

    Default

    Because of the access to homes, I would think there would be a connection with any burglary/theft conviction. Might be some valuable stuff laying around.

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    481

    Default

    George, I think you have a problem with authority, like wanting too much.
    As a retired Federal Agent who did lots of background checks, I know that credit information is only vaild if the person will have access to funds. What differance does it make if the guy pulling hose with me owes money on his truck or not? And what policies do you have in place to insure only the investigator sees this most private of data? None? I hope you have lots of E&O insurance. (Errors & Omissions).
    I can see a limited inquiry into the character of a potential volle. Employers are advised by council not to reveal why an employee left (liability), and they would be open to a lawsuit if you did not take him/her on based on such information. And you personally could be liable if the scope of the investigation exceeds what a reasonable person would do.
    What about the 55 year old volle, who took a car joyriding when he was 16? He's not good enough to squirt water on a fire with you? How about a fraud conviction 30 years ago - so now he can't drive a fire truck? Judgement needs to be exercised.
    A good background is no guarentee that the person will not go bad.
    And a complete background, like I used to do, costs big money, and takes longer than 15 days.
    I guess only the pure can save lives where George lives.

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"
    Posts
    990

    Default

    In my paid dept. we have a couple of people with questionable pasts (I won't elaborate here) but have been good. In my volly dept. thourough background checks are performed limiting the instance of this happening.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

    Edward F. Croker
    Chief 1899-1911
    Fire Dept. City of New York

    HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    3,022

    Default

    Originally posted by Sleuth

    What about the 55 year old volle, who took a car joyriding when he was 16? He's not good enough to squirt water on a fire with you? How about a fraud conviction 30 years ago - so now he can't drive a fire truck? Judgement needs to be exercised.
    A good background is no guarentee that the person will not go bad.
    If I can drop my two cents in here, I partially agree with slueth in that judgement must be exercised in some cases, but in response to the comments of the Credit Check, they are becoming more and more common in any public sector job. The main motivation behind them is that obviously if you get into personal financial trouble, you are more likely to commit offences at or related to work to make ends meet. A simple example is a police officer who is offered bribes at work. Normally not even an issue, but when the same guy is facing insurmountable debt, it may become too tempting to resist.

    As for firefighters, well there is a whole slew of areas they could get themselves into trouble. Everywhere from arson for hire (who better to hide the arson than a FF), to stealing and reselling equipment from work, not to mention the access to other peoples personal property while on the job. It would be easy to snag some small valuables during overhaul and assume the owner would write them off as lost in the fire on the insurance claim.

    It does not have to be limited to access to money.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Slueth, I am not sure what federal agency you worked for, but I am certain that you learned in Glynco that a poor credit history will disqualify you from a security clearance. I have already elaborated my reasons for doing the credit check. BTW< it is standard practice for employment in my law enforcement agency.

    If a person made his mistake in his youth and was charged with a minor offense, there are procedures in every state to have that crime expunged so that it does not follow a person around. If you are too lazy to have it expunged, too bad.

    It is not my law that you have to have a clean record to be a public official in NJ, it is state law.

  22. #22
    FIGJAM
    lutan1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    I come from The Land Down Under!
    Posts
    1,833

    Default

    In our part of the world, to join our organization, part of the application includes signing a consent form for the police to perform a background check.

    They do the check and then report back to the department. Nothing more than that from them. It's then at the disgression of the department whether or not they allow them to join.

    It's a hard one, but I guess it depends what the felony is....?

    credit check is used quite succesfully by investigators to determine when an individual is a security risk.
    The main motivation behind them is that obviously if you get into personal financial trouble, you are more likely to commit offences at or related to work to make ends meet.
    Interesting food for thought- I've never heard of credit checks being performed....
    Luke

  23. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Canuck Expat May be anywhere
    Posts
    2,906

    Default

    Well Ladies and Gentlemen this could be a real can of worms. I'm not sure how good some of your credit information agencies are in the US, but in Canada, there have been many reports of incorrect information being given out through mistakes by the credit reporting agencies. I was involved in Canadian Fire Service for many years and don't recall ever even hearing of a FF accused of theft at a fire site. Doesn't mean it didn't or couldn't happen, but I really doubt it is a major concern to any Fire Dept. In Canada as I believe it is in the US, approx 90% of fire fighters are not full time employees. Because someone may have had an impaired driving charge 10 years ago does not make him a reliability risk toi my way of thinking. There are a lot of people out there suffering financial hardships who will still hit the road at 2 AM and answer to call to a fire. I don't think credit checks have any business whatsoever in determining a persons suitability for fire service. Regards criminal records, there would need to be some type of common sense approach to this and that would be pretty difficult to find in any beauracracy. This is just my opinion of course

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Originally posted by BryanLoader
    Well Ladies and Gentlemen this could be a real can of worms. I'm not sure how good some of your credit information agencies are in the US, but in Canada, there have been many reports of incorrect information being given out through mistakes by the credit reporting agencies. I was involved in Canadian Fire Service for many years and don't recall ever even hearing of a FF accused of theft at a fire site. Doesn't mean it didn't or couldn't happen, but I really doubt it is a major concern to any Fire Dept. In Canada as I believe it is in the US, approx 90% of fire fighters are not full time employees. Because someone may have had an impaired driving charge 10 years ago does not make him a reliability risk toi my way of thinking. There are a lot of people out there suffering financial hardships who will still hit the road at 2 AM and answer to call to a fire. I don't think credit checks have any business whatsoever in determining a persons suitability for fire service. Regards criminal records, there would need to be some type of common sense approach to this and that would be pretty difficult to find in any beauracracy. This is just my opinion of course
    Bryan, you are right, to a point. But that's what I meant when I said that the background is only as good as the person conducting it. You don't rely solely on the records. You do the background and talk to people. A bad credit report doesn't automatically disqualify you from the public trust. But it is another item to chat with the applicant about and it can be used to verify info he has already given you.

    I've been involved in the discussion about convicted felons here before. IMHO: If you are a convicted felon, you have forfeited your right to hold a public position as long as that conviction is on your record.

  25. #25
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,686

    Default

    don't recall ever even hearing of a FF accused of theft at a fire site
    I can recall 3 fires where my FD was accused of stealing during a fire.

    On a side note, how many people have made statements about FDNY and stealing/looting during 9/11? Accusations ARE made.

    How many stories have we seen on FH.com about Chiefs, Treasurers, etc. being charged with stealing/misappropriating from their own fire companies? "Can't pay my bills, let me borrow some money from the company....I'll pay it back later"
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register