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How is it that there are still people in the fire service who don’t get the concept that what you say on social media can come back to bite you? Raise your hand if you don’t know this yet.
Last week we brought you ten cases. Here are 11 more incidents of Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS). Of the 21 cases, 14 involve chief officers. There’s a clear trend here when two-thirds of the people getting into trouble are chiefs. I get that it’s a difficult and emotional time. But you won’t make it any better jeopardizing your position in the fire service by sharing those emotions publicly.
Don’t just take my word for it. Read the latest from Curt Varone at FireLawBlog.com. You likely won’t find better advice on these issues than from Curt.
Battalion Chief Allan Springer is at the center of the investigation.
On May 31, a Facebook user posted multiple photos of bricks and brick palettes that were spotted in the middle of Black Lives Matter protests.
Questioning if they were dropped off to incite riots, Springer replied to the post saying, “No s**t…we need to find out who’s behind this and find a good tree to use!”
Dallas Fire Fighters Association President Capt. Jim McDade called out Springer on Facebook and replied to his comment saying, “Sorry chief but that is unbelievably offensive and inappropriate. I respect you as a BC and a firefighter but I’m appalled. Feel free to delete me, call me out, or do whatever you want.”
The chief of the Lyons Fire Protection District resigned Monday over Facebook comments he made late last month about the George Floyd protests in Denver.
J.J. Hoffman was responding to a post made by someone on Facebook who wrote, “I think denver police should have Denver fire dept. Give It 2 and ½ inch line and their monitor and wash all this human trash into the gutter”
Hoffman replied, “ha ha if I was down there I definitely would open our high pressure bumper turret and have some fun”
The city’s fire department chief has been put on leave as officials examine a comment he made on his personal Facebook page.
Chief Robert Laskowski was listening to a live police scanner June 1 at about 9 p.m. as police clashed with protesters in New York City.
“If anyone is bored listen to NYPD citywide on the scanner app and listen to what they are dealing with right now!,” the chief wrote.
“They need a few Blackhawks with snipers to solve the problem!” Laskowski replied.
The chief of the Cohanzie Fire Company 5 in Waterford has resigned from his position after controversial posts on Facebook resulted in backlash from community members.
Todd Branche, a volunteer chief with the company, resigned on Sunday effective immediately due to comments he made on the Waterford Community Open Forum on Facebook, according to Cohanzie Deputy Chief John Mariano.
On Sunday morning, Branche responded to a photo posted in the Facebook forum by Brian Johnson of the Christopher Columbus statue in New London being covered in red paint and a New London police patrol car that was spray painted by protesters. Branche commented, “Many of ‘those people’ can’t even spell George Floyd….but they won’t miss an opportunity…”
Hillcrest Fire Company, a volunteer fire department in the Town of Fenton, acknowledged Monday a recent Facebook post shared by Fire Chief Rick Larson, which discussed following rioters home and burning down their properties.
That Facebook post has since been removed, and on Tuesday, Larson posted a lengthy apology to the Press & Sun-Bulletin/pressconnects Facebook page. In part, he stated the post he shared was taken out of context from how he viewed it and he apologized for offending anyone.
Battalion Chief Jody Norris is on leave while being investigated under the city’s social media policy regarding a post that generated dozens of comments and shares, some in support of the post and some rebuking it.
A screenshot of Norris’ alleged post shows a meme from the “I will vote GOP” Facebook page that contrasts a picture of people moving hay bales with the words “If they did this during the day” and a picture of people vandalizing the inside of a retail store with the words “They wouldn’t do this at night.”
The Facebook post dated June 6 links to an article supporting a police officer refusing to kneel during a protest.
The person who made the post is Chad Hooten, who Local 10 News has learned is a Battalion Chief with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Hooten goes on to comment: “We have reached levels of ludicrous. It’s unbelievable—Leaders kneeling, white people kissing the boots of black people. It’s the great capitulation.”
Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Dancyzk wrote comments on social media that some have found offensive.
In a Facebook thread on May 31, 2020, about the protests and rioting going on in parts of the country, Dancyzk wrote, “I got 40 round magazines and (2) AR’s.” In a subsequent comment he wrote, “Protect your families from criminals.”
The thread was on firefighter Sammy Brocato’s page and were made a week ago.
Also seen on the post is Vicksburg Assistant Chief Trey Martin who “liked” the comment thread.
Two local firefighters are facing scrutiny over a recent Facebook post of a cartoon of a sport utility vehicle running over demonstrators with the words “ALL LIVES SPLATTER” above it and “NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR PROTEST” below it.
The post comes as demonstrators across the United States — including in Stanislaus County — protest the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.
One firefighter is with the Modesto Fire Department; the other is with the West Stanislaus County Fire Protection District. Several people provided The Bee with screenshots of the Facebook post and those who responded to it.
The city canned a 10-year veteran with the San Antonio Fire Department Thursday over racist and threatening social media posts.
In a brief press statement, the city and department said the firefighter posted a “racially derogatory comment/image” along with an “incendiary and threatening comment regarding recent protests.”
“The City of San Antonio and the SAFD consider these posts absolutely unacceptable and reprehensible,” the statement also reads. “This type of conduct will not be tolerated, and employees that choose to engage in such behavior will be dealt with swiftly and severely.”