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  • Volunteer Chief suspended for drinking

    Metchosin volunteer fire chief suspended

    canada.com

    Thursday, June 19, 2003


    Metchosin volunteer fire chief Cal Beaton is off the job indefinitely after receiving a 24-hour roadside suspension.

    Metchosin's volunteer fire chief is off the job indefinitely after receiving a 24-hour roadside suspension.

    Cal Beaton was pulled over in a random check Friday night at Kangaroo Road and Rocky Point Road.

    The police officer who pulled him over did not deem him to be impaired, but issued the suspension regardless.

    Beaton admits he had a beer at the fire hall Friday night.(wyesguy says:the local paper said Beaton admitted to alot more than one beer)

    Mayor Karen Watson suspended Beaton from his position on Saturday afternoon after informing council members by phone.

    Watson says the reason Beaton was suspended is that council made it clear to firefighters that there would be zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

    Drinking at the fire hall has been controversial. The volunteer fire hall has a liquor license for members and guests, but some people don't think that is appropriate for emergency services headquarters.

    Due to the controversy in Metchosin, the North Oyster and Malahat volunteer fire departments have pulled their liquor licenses.

    Beaton's future will be decided at an in-camera council meeting Monday night.

    In the interim, deputy fire chief Steen Skou is in charge of the department.

    © Copyright 2003 CH TV

    Metchosin is a small community outside of Victoria, B.C., Canada.

    What are your thoughts? Too harsh? Right on the money? How do other vollie departments with vollie chiefs handle the what is off duty or are you always on?
    Last edited by wyesguy24; 06-20-2003, 09:59 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by wyesguy24
    The police officer who pulled him over did not deem him to be impaired, but issued the suspension regardless.

    wow i didnt know cops could suspened the fire chief!
    well after all the controversy in america, and all the tragedys latley i think it would be best if he was removed from being the chief.

    Comment


    • #3
      hoping that Trojan horse read this thread.,...... Beer that was obtained in the Fire Station Bar........AGAIN.. Booze and firehouses do not mix!
      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
      ------------------------------
      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
      BMI Investigator
      ------------------------------
      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

      Comment


      • #4
        Mayor Karen Watson suspended Beaton from his position on Saturday afternoon after informing council members by phone.
        Eone...... The police didn't relieve him of his duties the Mayor did.


        Beaton admits he had a beer at the fire hall Friday night.(wyesguy says:the local paper said Beaton admitted to 6 beer)
        Until I hear from the guy himself, which ain't bloody likely since I don't know him, I'll reserve my judgement on this. We all know how the media can exaggerate things from time to time. I haven't seen that article yet wyesguy, the only one I've seen is the one you posted.

        Due to the controversy in Metchosin, the North Oyster and Malahat volunteer fire departments have pulled their liquor licenses.
        Just to clarify, our department removing alcohol from the premises had NOTHING to do with this incident, we voluntarily removed it at the beginning of the year. This is a fine example of the point I was trying to make above regarding the press.


        What are your thoughts? Too harsh? Right on the money? How do other vollie departments with vollie chiefs handle the what is off duty or are you always on?
        Now to answer your questions. My thoughts are that a suspension is a overkill as far as I'm concerned, at least an indefinite one. But then I don't know what arrangements the department had made with council and according to the article they had been told zero tolerance, so who knows. It was a 24 hour suspension, I've known guys to get those with only the smell of alcohol on their breath without any symptoms of being impaired; and I've known someone who was charged with impaired after having ONLY 3 beers. So it all boils back down to, when is a person impaired. I'll stand my ground on this when I say, every person has a different tolerance to alcohol, what might lay me flat on the ground would barely affect another person. This guy did NOT answer a call after drinking, he drove his POV. I'm not condoning drinking and driving by any means, but how many of you have driven after 1, 2 or 3 beers????? Thinking "awwwww I'm ok to drive". He made a mistake, thankfully it didn't cost anyone their lives, but does his mistake warrant having his position as chief taken away. Up here we trust ourselves and each other to "know the limit", I will not respond under the influence and I have no qualms about confronting someone who I think is.
        To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

        IACOJ-WOT proud

        GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PFire23
          Eone...... The police didn't relieve him of his duties the Mayor did.

          oh from the looks of it seemed like the cop suspended him.

          Comment


          • #6
            I didn't know Codevoe was a Chief

            Comment


            • #7
              Pfire, Times Colonist on C2, Friday June 20,2003 as in todays paper. In the sixth paragraph "Beaton said he met with friends around 4-5 pm and had a couple of beers. He later met other friends and had more beers. Beaton said he wasn't sure exactly how many more." I guess my issue is responsiblity. We as firefighters MUST set the example. How many times have you been on the scene of an MVA and said "Not another impaired". On top of the impaired he was also driving an uninsured vehicle.

              Comment


              • #8
                does anyone else see a a problem with this?

                I want to preface this that I don't think drinking and driving mix. but i have a problem with this situation. based soley on the information given in this article, i don't agree with the suspension.
                The police officer who pulled him over did not deem him to be impaired, but issued the suspension regardless.
                if he wasn't impaired, why was anything issued? is this a new rule, if you aren't impaired, and you get pulled over, and your a volunteer fire chief, your automaticly suspended from driving?
                Beaton admits he had a beer at the fire hall Friday night.
                that's one beer. that is the same as having a glass of wine. so he had a beer at the firehouse. what if it was a glass of wine with dinner? does that mean he should (and everyone else who takes a cute date out to a fancy dinner and has a glass of wine) have someone else drive him or her home? or what if it was a beer six hours ago, and it was in the middle of a 3 course meal at the firehouse? that changes things a little bit.
                (wyesguy says:the local paper said Beaton admitted to 6 beer)
                now you have conflicting information. makes me wonder a) which is right and b) what else is inaccurate.

                is he held to a higher standing just because he is a vol fire chief? was he driving the dept chief's vehicle when he was pulled over? or was it his personal vehicle? was he driving eradicly, or dangerously? if it was in his personal vehicle, then the fact that he had the beer at the firehouse should be irrelevant. what if he had been at the local pub with a bunch of firefighters? if the same situation occurs, will you be calling for the revocation of the bar's liquor license? and to further that line of thinking, why do bars have parking lots (yeah, i know it's not fire related, but it's a valid point)?

                I'm not trying to get in the middle of the whole alcohol in the firehouses debate. however, based on what this article tells me, the mayor over-reacted and singled him out, and I can not see the reason behind the suspension.
                If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

                FF/EMT/DBP

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Volunteer Chief suspended for drinking

                  Originally posted by wyesguy24
                  Due to the controversy in Metchosin, the North Oyster and Malahat volunteer fire departments have pulled their liquor licenses.
                  Pfire is correct, we pulled our "bar" at the beginning of the year, before the "Metchosin’s controversy" and due to a totally different issue. Also, in addition, I just happen to Fit Test for North Oyster Fire Department, and I can tell you that they shut theirs down over a year ago, also with no connection to Metchosin.

                  I don’t want to get into a raging battle here, because this has all the potential for one. I agree that drinking in fire departments shouldn’t mix. However, I can also tell you that up until this year our department had a "bar" since the mid 70’s and it was rarely an issue with responding after having a drink. In fact, it was more of a problem with guys have a few drinks around the yard on a warm summer day, then get a call.

                  Now, as for Chief Beaton. I personally think it is a little more "random check." Metchosin has been having this problem for at least 6 months now, since a member of the public took it upon themselves to "save" the firefighters from themselves (I must also note that, if memory serves me right, this good-doer lost by a slim margin in the Metchosin Council race).

                  Personally, I am waiting until I hear, directly, from Metchosin Fire, or Chief Beaton, before I make any choices, or "jump to conclusions." We all know the media takes a story and twists it to whatever they want, and this, I believe, is another one of those twisted tales.

                  BTW, Written in nice gold lettering on the side of Metchosin’s new Engine that recently took delivery I believe it says "Our Family helping to protect Your Family."
                  "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    26 is right never trust the media. The whole citizen policing the FD I can totally see that, people with nothing better to do.
                    There must be some validity to it I guess we will wait and see.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Maybe our brothers and sisters to the north can help us out a little, here. What is a "roadside suspension"? It sounds as though the police have the authority to out you in "time out" if they think you have been drinking.
                      PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Days gone by!

                        You know:
                        In Mayberry, Andy or Barney would give Otis a ride home!
                        But seriously, there seems to be alot of conflicting information in this one.
                        In our state, if a roadside check yields a suspicion by the police officer that you have been drinking, they will conduct a field sobriety test. If you pass, they send you on your way. It's not like:
                        "well, you passed the test, but I am going to cite you anyway."
                        Sounds like that is what happened here.
                        As far as the chief being suspended:
                        I believe that he has a strong case should he be discharged. "Zero tolerance" does not mean "zero point zero". Many over the counter products contain alcohol. Mouthwash comes to mind. You have to have a minimum threshold limit. .02; .05, but whatever it is, have a policy that states it and it's "zero tolerance" for violating it.
                        I don't quite understand all of the actions described in the original post. From the police officer to the mayor to the newspaper.
                        Perhaps we can get more information, because based on what was posted, I believe that the chief was screwed without benefit of a kiss. Unless there was a test result, this chief will win any action taken to dismiss him.
                        Of course, I could be wrong.
                        CR
                        Visit www.iacoj.com
                        Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                        RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wyesguy24
                          Pfire, Times Colonist on C2, Friday June 20,2003 as in todays paper. In the sixth paragraph "Beaton said he met with friends around 4-5 pm and had a couple of beers. He later met other friends and had more beers. Beaton said he wasn't sure exactly how many more." I guess my issue is responsiblity. We as firefighters MUST set the example. How many times have you been on the scene of an MVA and said "Not another impaired". On top of the impaired he was also driving an uninsured vehicle.

                          Wyesguy, IF he was IMPAIRED then I don't have a problem with a suspension. However, he was not charged with impaired, and I feel that without a charge to substantiate the Mayors stance an indefinite suspension is not right. Suspend him for a specified time period, get your point across and move on. As for the uninsured vehicle thing, I hadn't heard about that. And while I agree with the "must set an example", I think it is also important to keep in mind that NOT one of us is perfect, not one of us can say we've never made a mistake, done something stupid etc.; it would be a pretty sad state of affairs if we were all judged harshly for our mistakes and faux pas'. This is such a tough situation, yes he was drinking and driving, yes he received a 24 hr suspension, BUT was he impaired? He wasn't charged with DUI. He didn't respond to a call, he didn't get behind the wheel of an aparatus; would have he??? Who knows, he didn't and at this point we don't know that he ever would have. While those of you who are passing judgement sit there and shake your heads, answer me this, who here can HONESTLY say they've NEVER driven a vehicle after a couple????? A couple that you didn't think had affected you. I have, scared the begeezus out of myself and now have a strict policy that after 2 drinks I don't get behind the wheel, this is an example of learning from one's mistake; who are we to say that the Metchosin Chief wouldn't have learned from the 24 hr suspension???

                          For those who were wondering, a roadside suspension occurs when there's suspicion but not impairment, meaning that if you are pulled over and are not impaired but are deemed to perhaps be "walking that fine line", the police can and usually do issue a 24 hour suspension. Drivers who receive a 24 hr suspension have generally "blown" yellow on the breathalyzer, yellow meaning that they are not "over" the legal limit, but may be close. Just a little FYI, I believe the legal limit here is .08, I think it's the same as Alberta. I don't know about BC but I do know that in Alberta these suspensions do not show up on your driving record and do not affect your insurance rates.

                          CR, good point on the fact of if there is no test results he can fight his suspension. This is valid, without "proof positive" that he was impaired, how can his "indefinite suspension" be justified???

                          As as an afterthought, how did the Mayor even find out about this incident??? There was NO CHARGE, who breached the privacy act to "tattle" on the Chief?? Pretty scary to think that in a small town, there is no such thing as the privacy act, which I might add, is ILLEGAL TO BREACH, is a CHARGABLE OFFENSE if it is breached. So if this officer took it upon himself to "let it slip" that the Chief had received a 24 hour suspension, he can be charged with a felony. This had to have been "leaked" as a passerby would not have been privvy to the nature of the "pull over" or the outcome.
                          Last edited by PFire23; 06-21-2003, 12:10 PM.
                          To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

                          IACOJ-WOT proud

                          GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            An excerpt of administrative procedures for dealing with DWI offenders in Canada

                            In Canada, if a police officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that a driver has consumed alcohol, the officer can demand that the driver provide a breath sample into an approved screening device (ASD). (Failure to provide a sample can lead to charges under the Criminal Code.) The ASD is typically calibrated such that a green "Pass" light illuminates when the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below 50 mg% (60 mg% in Saskatchewan); a yellow "Warn" light indicates a BAC of 50 to 100 mg%; and a red "Fail" light indicates a BAC in excess of 100 mg%.

                            In several provinces, if a driver illuminates the "Warn" light on an ASD, the police officer can immediately -- at roadside -- suspend the driver's licence or prohibit the offender from driving for a period of up to 24 hours. In some jurisdictions, a roadside suspension can be issued in the absence of ASD evidence if the police officer believes the driver is affected by alcohol.


                            I hope that answers some of your questions.

                            ...council made it clear to firefighters that there would be zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
                            As for the Mayor's decision....I believe he acted on the premise that, since the Chief was in the "borderline" area of impairment, according to the opinion of the police...he would enforce the zero tolerance policy that was in place for the firefighters. Maybe the Chief hadn't crossed the line, in this case....but the Mayor decided to set an example perhaps?
                            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                            On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              From the Nova Scotia Official Government site:

                              http://www.gov.ns.ca/tran/roadsafety/factsheet.htm

                              How will the 24-Hour Suspension Work?

                              If a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe a driver's ability to drive is affected by alcohol, the driver will be instructed to move the vehicle to the nearest safest place off the road. A screening device, or breathalyser, is then used to determine the BAC of the driver. If a driver registers a "warn" of .05 or higher on the screening device, the driver's licence will be suspended for 24 hours effective immediately.

                              What happens to the vehicle when the driver's licence is suspended?

                              The driver can arrange to have another licensed driver move the vehicle. If no one is available, and the officer feels the vehicle should be removed from its location to avoid danger, the officer will arrange for removal and storage of the vehicle and notify the driver of its location. The driver will be responsible for all costs associated with towing and possibly storage.

                              Does the suspension become part of the driver's record?

                              The information will be recorded on your driving record, but only available to the Registry of Motor Vehicles staff in order to monitor the program. Outside agencies or companies will not have access to this information.


                              Note that final sentence! Now, I do not know if the situation is the same in the Province in question....but, if so, apparently someone DID leak the information.
                              Last edited by NJFFSA16; 06-21-2003, 12:24 PM.
                              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                              Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                              Comment

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