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News report: Claims of hazing & fear of retaliation at Virginia fire department

Arlington County says hazing will "not be tolerated" after former recruit and others go public

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Rebecca Burnett, WDVM-TV:

Over a year ago, firefighter EMT recruit Brett Ahern alleged extreme bullying and hazing at the hands of one firefighter who was an instructor with the Arlington County Fire Department’s Training Academy.

“He went out of his way to make a spectacle out of me and that usually wasn’t done with other recruits, at least not as brazenly as it was with me,” he said.

“We have to work cohesively as a team. If we compromise that trust or it’s in question then we have some fundamental problems,” said Fire Chief David Povlitz. He declined to comment on specific cases, but he says the county and the fire department have “well-established investigation systems.” Employees have the choice to report to their chain of command, the Office of Human Rights, to human resources, or to the County Manager’s Office.

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