City of Charlottesville, VA Fire
|Chapter:||V- Personnel Policies and Procedures|
|Subject:||Complaints Against FD Personnel|
To provide policy, guidelines, and procedures relative to investigation and management of complaints against Fire Department personnel.
A. All complaints lodged against Fire Department personnel shall be received promptly and courteously.
B. Non-supervisory members receiving complaints against Fire Department members shall refer the complaint to the on-duty Fire Battalion Chief.
C. Complaints of a serious nature shall be referred to the Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chief.
D. Information concerning all aspects of an investigation of a complaint against a Fire Department member shall be considered confidential and due respect for the rights and dignity of all parties concerned shall be afforded by those involved in the investigation process.
E. Any member who may be assigned by the Fire Chief to investigate allegations against another member of the Fire Department shall endeavor to investigate said allegations fairly and impartially in an effort to determine the truth of the matter and arrive at just disposition of the case.
A. The Fire Chief shall have the authority to conduct an internal investigation relative to complaints which may have been filed against any member of the Fire Department.
B. The Fire Chief shall have the authority to designate an investigator, who will be selected from among the member- ship of the department, to conduct an internal investigation relating to complaints against Fire Department members.
A. The Fire Chief is responsible for investigating complaints against Fire Department members.
B. Fire Battalion Chiefs are responsible for receiving complaints against Fire Department members and initiating the investigation process.
C. All Fire Department members are responsible for receiving complaints promptly and courteously and insuring that all complaints are forwarded (through channels) expeditiously to the on-duty Fire Battalion Chief.
D. Any member who has been designated as an investigator for the purpose of conducting an internal investigation shall endeavor to conduct said investigation in a professional manner, seeking to fairly and impartially determine the facts involved.
A. Whenever a formal internal investigation is conducted, an investigative report (containing the particulars of the case) shall be prepared and forwarded directly to the Fire Chief.
B. One or more of the following findings shall be included in each completed investigative report.
l. Unfounded. The investigation indicates that the act or acts complained of did not occur or failed to involve Fire Department personnel.
2. Exonerated. Acts reported did occur but were justified, lawful, and proper.
3. Not sustained. Investigation fails to discover sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegations made in that complaint.
4. Sustained. The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegation(s) made in the complaint.
5. Not involved. Investigation establishes that the individual named in the complaint was not involved in the alleged incident.
A. Whenever it becomes known that a member of the Fire Department has been arrested by a law enforcement agency, the Fire Chief shall be notified immediately.
B. The Fire Chief, or his/her designee, shall make contact with the law enforcement agency involved and shall endeavor to obtain as much information as possible concerning the case.
C. Whenever a member of the Fire Department is arrested in connection with alleged, on-duty criminal activities, the Fire Chief shall be immediately notified and a formal investigation may be initiated.
A. Whenever a Police Report has been filed against a Fire Department member, the Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chief shall be notified immediately and a formal internal investigation may be initiated.
B. Whenever a complaint lodged against a Fire Department member indicates a criminal act and there is sufficient corroborating evidence to the extent that an arrest of said member seems likely, the Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chief shall be notified immediately.
Fortunately, complaints against Fire Department personnel are not very frequent. However, complaints against Fire Department members do occur and may originate from a variety of sources, including; local citizens, members of the general public who are not local residents, personnel from other City departments, the Police Department, etc. These complaints may be received by any of the various components of the Fire Department, but should be expeditiously routed to the on-duty Fire Battalion Chief insure prompt and efficient handling of the same. The following illustrates the system used for handling complaints against Fire Department personnel.
A. Non-supervisory members of the Suppression Division receiving complaints against Fire Department personnel shall refer the complainant to the on-duty Fire Battalion Chief.
B. The Fire Battalion Chief shall determine as much information as possible and shall notify the Fire Chief or the Deputy Fire Chief as soon as possible.
C. Fire Battalion Chiefs receiving complaints against Fire Department members, either directly or via another source within the Fire Department, shall initiate an informal investigation.
D. The Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chief may initiate a formal investigation, if they deem it necessary.
E. When the Fire Chief becomes involved, he/she may decide (based on the facts) to handle the investigation or to delegate the investigation to another member.
F. The investigator (either the Fire Chief or his/her designee) shall conduct the investigation and shall contact the involved member(s) and question same as to the facts involved.
G. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a report and submit it directly to the Fire Chief. Said report will indicate the appropriate standard finding based on the conclusions drawn by the investigator. (see l4.05, Complaint Status)
H. The Fire Chief will review the report. If the Fire Chief is not in agreement with the report, the investigator will be re-contacted and additional investigation may be warranted. If the Fire Chief is in agreement with the report, he/she shall initiate the appropriate actions to conclude the matter based on the findings within the report.
I. If the report indicates a finding other than "sustained", the involved member and the complainant will be informed of the disposition of the matter; and a copy of the report will be placed in an administrative file for a period not to exceed one year.
J. If the approved report indicates a finding which sustains the allegations against the involved member, then the Fire Chief shall make a decision as to whether or not immediate corrective action should be taken.
K. If immediate action is indicated, the type of action shall be determined by the Fire Chief. Both the involved member(s) and the complainant will be informed of the disposition of the matter, and the formal disciplinary action process will be activated.
L. If necessary, the Fire Chief may decide to consult with other supervisory members before deciding the type of disciplinary action to take.
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