DC firefighter who recently graduated from cadet program arrested on felony theft charge.

DC Ellerbe & Rubin

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A little background on this story. The DC Fire & EMS Department high school cadet program was shut down during the administration of Chief Dennis Rubin. In this book DC Fire (read review of book), Chief Rubin said he took this very controversial action because of concerns about background checks and screening of candidates and a high number of criminal incidents associated with the program. The program was reinstated when Chief Kenneth Ellerbe took over the department.

Jay Korff, WJLA-TV/ABC 7:

According to sources, a D.C. firefighter straight out of the academy was arrested on theft charges.

Sources say Clarence Jones, 19, worked only a handful of shifts at Engine 26 in Northeast Washington prior to being placed on leave after a run-in with the law. 

Police say Jones was arrested on Dec. 11 in Prince George's County on a felony theft charge. Authorities would not provide the circumstances surrounding his arrest, but according to the charge, the alleged incident involved an item or items valued between $1,000 and $10,000.

“They’re supposed to be stand up citizens,” says Ezra Bryant.

Bryant, who lives in the neighborhood served by the fire hall, is concerned about yet another issue impacting a department already plagued with fleet and maintenance problems.

“The Fire Department has been under fire for years now… fire chief and other issues with the equipment. This is another bad mark on their reputation.”

Sources say Jones graduated from the cadet program at the D.C. Fire Deparment Training Academy. The program was re-introduced by Mayor Gray with the enthusiastic support of Chief Ellerbe to give recent District high school graduates an opportunity to learn an admirable craft and then serve the residents of their city as a firefighter.

The arrest is the latest in a number of problems faced by the D.C. Fire Department this year. In the spring, the department came under fire after multiple ambulances broke down. Recently, Chief Ellerbe admitted only a fraction of the department's ladder trucks passed a safety test. And last week, an ABC7 News investigation revealed fire departments of similar sizes in other cities have much higher safety test records for ladder and pumper trucks.

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