Tuesday, February 1, 2011

(insert crime here)

Someone hears something. A friend tells a friend who tells someone's wife, who in turn tells one of us. So and so got picked up for (insert crime here). A phone call is made or a text is sent. Eventually, someone will get on line and access the county courts website. They will do a case search using the rumored offenders name and if the rumor is true (or mostly true) a hit will be made. Then the rumor is no longer a rumor and is now a matter of public record. The sordid details are there for anyone with a computer and a little savvy to see.

Usually, it has something to do with alcohol and cars. Occasionally, alcohol plays a role in a more serious crime, one that involves physical violence. Very rarely, one of our members kills or tries to kill someone or commits some form of sex crime.

Almost always, the district knows about the event long before the membership does. The arresting agency will give the district a heads up about an arrest or the errant member will notify his superior officer as soon as he is able to do so. Sometimes, the accused will opt to resign before the trial. We appreciate that, as the headlines always look better when they say "Former firefighter arrested, accused of (insert crime here).

Depending on where the crime occurred, it may even escape the attention of the local media. We like that even better, no one enjoys seeing dirty laundry flapping in the breeze - especially when it is their own. We have been lucky in that aspect, our good named has only been muddied a few times during my career.

Rest easy, all of these events are very rare, the really bad ones are extremely rare. But, as we are human, we are susceptible to many of the same trials and tribulations as the rest of society. I believe that background checks and psychological testing helps reduce the number of problem children in our employ. However, someone's secrets, if properly kept, allow them to slip through the cracks and remain undetected until crisis erupts. Then it can be ugly for everyone.

No one likes to see their comrades in jail, even if that's where they need to be.. 

Thanks for reading,



  1. It was a Sunday morning at the fire station and one of our members was MIA.

    Based on rumors, I called the county jail. (pre-Internet).

    Sure enough, he was there. I forgot to ask what the charges were.

    Turns out he was not alone. Bar fight got three of them. You should not call the local police "town clowns."

  2. Isn't it amazing how often the troubles evolve around drinking? I wonder if the incident would have been handled differently if the cultural slur had not been used?

    Thanks for the comment.