I'm hoping someone can give me some advice. Iím a rookie whoís still on probation. Recently, my officer asked me to go along with a false report he wrote about an incident with some equipment that got damaged at the firehouse. The report made it out to look like the damage was because of me.
Later the officer told me that the chief would possibly be questioning me about the incident. That came as a surprise to me and needless to say, it made me really nervous. The chief never did talk to me about it, but now gossip has spread through the firehouse. Some guys have figured out that I agreed to go along with the false report, and other guys think that I really did cause the damage. Obviously I don't like either of those rumors! I'm keeping my mouth shut, but I am getting hassled quite a bit. My own pride aside, I worry that this will permanently damage the reputation I want to build, and worse, that it will get back to the chief. It has put me in a really tough position, because I donít want to rat anyone out, but I definitely don't want to lie to the chief if he asks me point blank about what happened.
Iíve talked to the officer about all this, but he just dismisses it and says not to worry, itís no big deal. To him it may not be a big deal Ė but to me itís huge. I feel guilty for going along with the report in the first place, but on the other hand, I felt obliged to obey my officer when he told me to sign it. Do I just drop this and hope the whole thing blows over, or do I take the chance that this blows up in my face later on? Any suggestions?? Thanks.
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08-02-2007, 10:12 PM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
Ethical dilemma - need some advice!
08-03-2007, 03:43 PM #2
No kind of officer.
You can do what you see fit, i'm not your daddy. But, personally i believe you should take responsibility for you own actions. In this case, the officer should have owned up, but instead decided to put the blame on someone else. Which means he is no kind of officer. I personally wouldn't not have signed that slip, cause if something down the line should have happened that "officer" can place all the blame on you. My advice, is to own up to everything. Tell the chief everything, even if he doesn't ask. He needs to know the kind of officers are under his command. If the officer is capable of covering up this, what else would he/she be able to cover up.
But thats just my two cents.
08-03-2007, 04:09 PM #3
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Sunny South Florida
I don't agree with telling the chief what really went down. Remember that you'll be working with that officer a lot longer than the chief will probably be there and you don't want to be labeled a tattle tale, especially on probation! Eventually everyone will forget and years from now, if it's brought up again, you can say what really happened. Keep it on the down low for now.
08-03-2007, 05:43 PM #4
The way I see it...
Posted by Firemedic 61I don't agree with telling the chief what really went down. Remember that you'll be working with that officer a lot longer than the chief will probably be there and you don't want to be labeled a tattle tale, especially on probation! Eventually everyone will forget and years from now, if it's brought up again, you can say what really happened. Keep it on the down low for now.
It appears the "officer" doesn't have the testicular fortitude to cowboy up and admit he did the damage.
The rookie was wrong in agreeing with him.
The Chief hasn't said anything... yet.
The rookie is probation and can get canned for just about anything.
The "officer" is a backstabbing coward and can't be trusted... he's already thrown the probie under the bus once... who's next?
Would you want to work with this kind of "brother?"
I sure in hell wouldn't!
Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 08-03-2007 at 06:56 PM."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
08-03-2007, 05:56 PM #5
08-03-2007, 08:02 PM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
KnuckleRack, I've been in this business for 8 years, and that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I don't know about going to the chief directly, but follow the chain of command. If the captain thinks nothing of this, go talk to your senior man or your lieutenant. If there isn't one in your hall or whatever the case may be, talk to one of your fellow crew mates. Tell them what happened and explain the predicament that you are in. I'm CERTAIN that they will be shocked.
Hopefully they can either talk to the captain on your behalf, or else speak to someone more senior than themselves to get things ironed out. Ideally this will be looked after internally with some more senior members stepping up and helping out on your behalf. By internally, I mean that hopefully a lieutenant or other captain that has known this guy for years will step in and straighten him out without a big to-do with chiefs and everyone getting involved. But if it comes to that and your job is on the line...f@%k him! He's the one that is in the wrong, and just because he's a captain doesn't give him the right to deflect blame away to other members when the incident in question is not their fault. This is a brotherhood, and yeah, we all want to look after each other, keep each other safe, and so on. But the actions of your captain have already proven that he is no brother, so if he has to take some flack for this he has no one to blame but himself.
08-03-2007, 08:18 PM #7
08-07-2007, 04:47 PM #8
Stupid! you should tell the chief and take your chances. He may already know and is waiting to see if you tell him. You may have already messed up your chances to be trusted. This officer is no officer and should not be trusted. BE A MAN AND BE HONEST.GFD748 First in... Last out.. Everyone goes home.... Do the best job you can and do it safely
08-08-2007, 01:39 AM #9
- Join Date
- May 2003
- SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
Honor above all!
As a line Officer who has had a little time in the job [about 25 years] can I give you some advice?
You have made a basic elemental,but easily fixed, error. Your probation period does NOT include lying to protect another.
Your officer is a dog! [with sincere apologies to all our 4 legged friends!]
Let this one die and you will always be watching out for your a**.
He will hang YOU everytime to protect his reputation.
Next time it may not be a "little" thing, it could involve injury or death and he will leave you to carry the can!
Talk to the chief,confidentially.
If he is any kind of Officer he will probably think more of you. Then let him handle the problem his way.
If it rebounds then you have to consider whether you want to be part of an organisation which encourages victimisation and sheer bastardry. I know I wouldn't!
You are the probationer,not the slave. Listen, learn, make the coffee,do the sh*t jobs that are all part and parcel of being the newbie BUT this doesn't include lying to help another's agenda.
My 2 cents worth....probably worth even less with inflation!
08-08-2007, 01:23 PM #10
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
- New York
This officer is a coward, hairbag piece of *****! Things get broken around the firehouse all the time... Own up to it like a man apoligize and it is all over. Instead this hairbag decides to place the blame on the most vulnerable and impressionable guy in the firehouse!!!
Why don't you try speaking to one of the senior men in the house. Maybe they can help you out. Its everyone's job to look after the johnny! If this ever happened in my house this officer would be in for some very unfriendly tours.. and we would probably make some really really bad meals!! In all seriousness good luck!!
08-08-2007, 03:00 PM #11
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Yes, the officer was definitely wrong in not owning up in the first place to what happened, but you pretty well did yourself in when you agreed to go along with the false report.
It's a little thing called honesty...
08-08-2007, 08:38 PM #12
Own up BRO......
Its all that can be done...
08-08-2007, 10:01 PM #13
Just wondering, but could this have been a setup between the officers from the beginning just to see how you would handle the situation?
08-08-2007, 10:27 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
Last edited by POWERSLADDER2; 08-26-2007 at 10:05 PM.
08-08-2007, 11:22 PM #15
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
fix the glitch
So far most of the talk has been about you owning up to your mistakes and that is excellent advice. I would take it a step further and own up to the guy who got you in this mess to begin with.
First of all, document document document. Write all this stuff down, no explanations, no excuses, just the facts, what happened, when and by whom. Second, have a sit down with the officer in question, show him your documentation and explain your discomfort with the whole deal and let them know you are sorry for ever letting it get this far. Then offer him the chance to make it right before you do, it will sound a lot better for him if he cleans up the mess with the chief instead of his probie firefighter jumping all kinds of rank and chain of command (which I believe would be yet another mistake on your part) to rat the guy out, and you won't be labeled a tattle tale.
If he is unwilling to set the record straight, in writing, then you have carte blanche to do all of the above. But first and foremost you should be a stand up guy and let him take care of it while also being respectful of your chain of command. It isn't a pretty picture any way you look at it but if I were the chief and some rook came knocking on my door I would be twice as mad with everyone involved, rookie included.
Good luck, thanks for sharing this with everyone, hopefully it will be a lesson learned for us all.
08-09-2007, 01:31 AM #16
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
We ask a bunch of entry level interview questions that are very similar to this scenario. The difference here is that the officer is the one who has made the bad decision. Worse yet, he has involved you, the probationary firefighter.
It's really easy for everyone to tell you to stand your ground. The reality is this is a very difficult and career threatening situation. You have made your feelings known to the officer and he blew you off.
A previous poster had the suggestion of speaking to the BC. I had an engineer come to me in confidence regarding something his officer had done (ironically to a probationary firefighter). I was able to handle the situation and still maintain the confidence of the engineer.
If (when) the truth comes out the officer is disciplined. He will most like get a written letter in his file. Since the rookie is still on probation he will be fired.
Last edited by BCLepore; 08-09-2007 at 10:31 AM.
08-09-2007, 02:04 AM #17
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Pacific Northwest
You want to save your job, right?
I am usually vehement in my insistence to follow chain of command, but this sounds like an exception.
I would most certainly NOT start with the officer who put you on the spot. If you do so, and meet resistance, your next step is to go up the chain, and when the hammer eventually falls on the officer down the road, it won't be a mystery as to who ratted him out. You think you're suffering now? You have no idea.
If your Chief is any good, he (she? PC) will know the obvious truth that a probie is not a universally all-knowing oracle of wisdom. Probies are going to need help and guidance once in a while, and if this situation does not qualify for one of those once-in-a-while moments, what does?
Make an appointment with the Chief. Don't start off the meeting by spouting off the second you sit down like an eleven year old kid who suffered an injustice on the playground, "You see, Billy and I were playing with the ball, and he hit me, so I hit him, and he stole Jeff's lunchbox and blamed it on me....." Start the meeting off by getting straight to the point: You are faced with an ethical issue, that you were coerced into participation against your will. You will do whatever it takes to maintain your integrity as well as that of the department - and you would be grateful if you could simultaneously keep your job while not being fingered as a tattletale. Make it clear you want what is best for the department along with your own interests. Your most noble approach is one where it isn't all about you. In this subtle, unthreatening way, you will make it about the Chief, too. Then you will be asked to explain, so now you can actually go into the details of the story.
If, after this approach, you get outed, or get no help, you don't want to be on that department anyway.
Make choices today that you can live with tomorrow.You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
IACOJ Power Company Liason
When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution
and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.
08-09-2007, 05:08 PM #18
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
I read a really good quote yesterday - "Loyalty above all else, except honor".
08-09-2007, 05:21 PM #19
Kick the officer in the ars for putting you in that position and rat him out!!! Cover your own first. I know firefighting is a brotherhood thing but always remember the rule of 1 first.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 who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. ~Edward F. Croker
08-10-2007, 11:43 AM #20
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
i totally agree with just about everyone but u shouldnt have signed it in the first place soo bad on your part but if you have a senior officer above this one you have the dilema with then i would go to him and explain your situation before going to the chief
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