Fire Department Discipline: How Much is Enough?
- A career firefighter and his company officer are accused of engaging in a road rage incident while their engine company is responding to an alarm.
- A three volunteer firefighters are accused of sexually assaulting a 16 year old junior firefighter as part of a hazing ritual.
These are but two stories clipped from the headlines just last week!
One of the most difficult challenges a fire officer has to deal with, is investigating a complaint of misconduct against a fellow firefighter. In fact the fire service as a whole struggles to reconcile the need for discipline with the concept of brotherhood.
How should fire service leaders investigate allegations of wrongdoing, enforce discipline, and protect the organization’s reputation?
How do union representatives ensure that the rights of their members are protected, that a fair and unbiased investigation is conducted, and that personnel accused of wrongdoing receive a fair hearing?
Those two perspectives are the focus of a two day program, Fire Department Administrative Investigations and Enforcing Discipline, that Public Agency Training Council is hosting in Indianapolis on July 26-27 and in Las Vegas on August 2-3, 2011.
The course will cover:
- Five common complaints about fire service disciplinary processes
- Six steps to create the ideal professional standards system
- Respecting the Weingarten and Garrity Rights of firefighters
- Three key questions to be answered in any due process proceeding
- Firefighter “Bill of Rights Laws” – what you need to know
- The challenges associated with “Conduct Unbecoming” allegations
- Five steps in the investigative process
- Four policies that every fire department needs (but probably don’t have)
- Enhancing interviewing skills
- Three important rules for interviewing the complainant
- Tips for dealing with a hostile or angry witness
- 7 Essential components of due process
- The Code of Silence: Addressing it in a reasonable manner
- Three necessary components for establishing the chain of custody of evidence
- Seizure and documentation of evidence
- Use of photo and video to document evidence
- The law governing workplace search & seizure, including the June, 2010 US Supreme Court decision in City of Ontario v. Quon
- Chemical testing of employees: pitfalls and precautions
- Drafting the investigative report
- Understanding what the pre-disciplinary hearing is and isn’t
- The three burdens of proof
- The corrective action balancing act: determining what penalty is appropriate for a particular individual
- How to prevent disciplinary actions from being overturned
- Use of last chance agreements
- How to handle resignations and retirements in lieu of disciplinary action
- Effective use of pro-active tools to help firefighters avoid rule violations
There’s no need to resort to civilian investigators to handle fire department disciplinary matters!
For more information on attending:
- Indianapolis – please visit http://www.patc.com/training/detail.php?ID=9924
- Las Vegas – please visit http://www.patc.com/training/detail.php?ID=9863
Also – please feel free to contact me personally with any questions.