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  • Tougher fire fighter arson laws

    When fire fighters are convicted of arson, it damages all of us. Public sentiment may even turn against the department of the offending parties. In my opinion, it is something akin to police brutality. It also seems like most of these fire fighter arsonists are volunteers. In my mind this affects the volunteer service even more negatively than a paid fire fighter arsonist hurts the career departments' public images. So, after reading some other posts in another forum about this, I think maybe we should start a movement for tougher punishments for fire fighers convicted of arson. I read someone's suggestion that offending fire fighters be permanently banned from any position with a fire department. I think this may be the most effective threat we can make, since jail time and shame doesn't seem to be a concern for these people. What do y'all think? Are there any concerns about this?

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    Be safe.

  • #2
    I am a vol. FF and a full-time fire investigator with an Arson Unit in NJ. My agency has arrested 33 vol. FF in 14 years for arson-related crimes. One quick question...why should new laws be passed when there are segments of the vol. fire service who do not want to deal with this problem? What do I mean? How about the fight that ensues every time someone suggests that a vol. FF should undergo the same extensive testing as a paid FF? Like full background, psychiatric eval., and drug testing. I hear it's too expensive, or we're only volunteer, or we will discourage people from joining or any one of the other lame excuses for a double standard.

    How about the vol. FD's who will take anything with a pulse as a member? No, not your department, but they are out there.

    How about the vol. FD who tacitly approve of this activity? Yes they exist. I know of one department who, as recently as 15 years ago, would not let a member join unless they set a structure fire.

    There are enough laws out there. Every time a problem comes up that people don't want to deal with, the suggestion comes up for more laws. Nonsense. Enforce the one's we have and make the vol. FD's as accountable and responsible as paid FD's.

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    • #3
      Right on George!
      I agree with you whole heartedly.

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      The statements above are my own opinions

      FF Greg Grudzinski
      Oaklyn Fire Dept.
      Station 18-3

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      • #4
        Right on George!

        I agree with you whole heartedly.

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        The statements above are my own opinions

        FF Greg Grudzinski
        Oaklyn Fire Dept.
        Station 18-3

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        • #5
          When you say they had to set a fire to join, do you mean in an occupied structure, or a donated house? That is crazy! I do agree with you about the back ground checks.

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          Be safe.

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          • #6
            Enforce the laws as George suggested.

            Their is a problem out there and you can see it right here on these forums. We have people in this business that get sexual gratification from a damn siren, others get off on talking on portable radios I have seen it with my own eyes. I was once a member of a vfd where they used the radios like toys, and these same people couldn't understand why their wasn't any radio disclipline during fires.

            Until we start taking our business seriously, we can never expect others to take us seriously, i.e. funding, recruitment, equipment manufacturers.

            Whats lacking in most cases is plain old fashioned LEADERSHIP.....Jake

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            • #7
              New York now has a law in effect in which any potential member of a fire dept. must have an arson check first. Any history of arson whatsoever automatically permanently disqualifies the applicant from membership in any dept in the state. And it's my understanding that if you are convicted while already serving, your gone for good throughout the state.

              That's a good start, but let's face it, arson is one of the toughest crimes to prove, much less get a conviction on. So how do we know if this potential member just never got caught, or no one could make it stick???

              I think a psych evaluation is a reasonable enough answer. Arson check, medical physical then psych evaluation.

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              Chris
              Hillcrest FD

              LEGAL INFO: Any and all views I've expressed above and on this site are not representative of my department. They are my personal opinions and views.

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