Montgomery County’s Officer Candidate School - Day 4

Oct. 17, 2003
What do collective bargaining, ethics, and behavior-based safety have in common? They were all topics presented during Day 4 of the Office Candidate School.
What do collective bargaining, ethics, and behavior-based safety have in common? They were all topics presented during Day 4 of the Office Candidate School.

But first, physical fitness!!! Today's PT program focused on resistance training. The participants learned about the use of weights and other resistance devices to improve physical strength. Today's PT program also included a 20-minute run and a job-related, skills circuit program.

District Chief Dave Steckel opened the day's classroom session with a presentation on the topic of labor relations. Chief Steckel discussed topics such as the disciplinary process; laws, policies, and regulations, employee performance, substance abuse, the collective bargaining law, the grievance process, and the retirement process.

Lieutenant Wayne Shaw of the Fire and Investigations Division presented a session on the role and responsibilities of a lieutenant in that division. Along with his accelerant sniffing canine pal Hank, Lieutenant Shaw discussed the topics of investigator training requirements, investigator responsibilities, the daily work schedule, and information on the canine handlers and bomb technicians. He also discussed the do's and don't's of when to call for a fire investigator so that the company officer will be better prepared for handling fire cause determination in the field.

Assistant Chief Richard Bowers and Captain Michael Grierson from the department's Safety Division conducted a session on behavior-based safety for the company officer. The presentation covered the culture of safety, identifying at-risk behaviors, the company officer's role in safety, recognized safety standards. The session also discussed the reorganization of the department's Safety Division. Said Chief Bowers, the department's safety Officer, "The fire service is steeped in traditions. The culture of the fire fighters and the fire service as a whole must focus on changing the behavior of fire fighters in how they embrace safety in the fire service. The safety, health, and wellness of fire fighters need to become the number one priority of every department." Our safety mission in Montgomery County is..."EVERYONE IS READY! NO ONE GETS INJURED! NO ONE HAS A CRASH! AND EVERYONE GOES HOME!"

The day's lessons ended with Kevin Sanzenbacher, the Director of the Office of Investigative Programs, who presented a segment on internal affairs and the company officer. His presentation covered topics such as the department's code of conduct policy, leadership roles, and ethics in the workplace. Said Sanzenbacher, "First-line supervisors are the mine canaries. They are the first to recognize a problem and bring it to the attention of the organization. We hope, through the Internal Affairs segment of OCS to reinforce the importance of the supervisor as a leader when dealing with ethical, diversity, and behavioral issues."

When asked how is OCS going so far, Lieutenant Kelvin Thomas said, "OCS so far has been one of the most important classes that I have been associated with. I will leave this class as a more confident supervisor. It should be offered to all company officers in this organization, and it is well over-due. What a great opportunity!"

Tomorrow? Station operations and crew resource management.

Follow the daily events of Montgomery County's Officer Candidate School here at



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