News Release: Tallahassee Fire Department February 14, 2014
The City of Tallahassee Fire Department today announced an Internal Affairs Investigation has begun into allegations that a city fire lieutenant working in an off-duty capacity, failed to deliver training he was paid to provide. The Tallahassee Police Department will conduct a separate investigation to determine if there was any criminal intent.
The case came to light after a potential student notified the State Fire Marshal’s Office alleging that an instructor offered that instead of taking the class, the student could receive the course information, test and test answers for a fee. The State Fire Marshal’s Office provides training and certification for fire service professionals. Instructors are certified through the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and then can arrange to teach classes to firefighters seeking advanced training such as Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Officer, Fire Arson Investigator, etc.
“At this point, we do not have enough information to know the validity of the issues, however for the Fire Department our integrity and commitment to public service require us to take this very seriously,” said John Gatlin, Acting Fire Chief. “We do know that this training was not provided through the city or our fire department, but because it may involve one or more city fire employees, we are investigating to gather all the facts.”
Firefighters who receive advanced training can be eligible for pay supplements, and advanced certificates may be necessary to be considered for promotions. “We will also be working to ensure that we have a clear understanding of whether any of our firefighters did not take the necessary training for these higher level designations,” said Gatlin.
Officials with the State Fire Marshal’s Office are also conducting an investigation into whether any potential statutory or administrative violations may have taken place.