Purpose: To provide disciplinary guidelines for management to use, as needed, to all the Three Star Fire Department personnel.
Scope: All members of the Three Star Volunteer Fire Department are expected to follow the rules, regulations, standard operating guidelines, and the orders of all officers of the department. As a group of volunteers, it is expected that all members will have a very high degree of self discipline and proper conduct and that disciplinary guidelines from within the department itself will rarely be needed and will be executed as a last resort. In the event that an individual does not conduct himself or herself as expected, the Officers and Chiefs of the department are expected to follow the guidelines set forth in this set of guidelines. Depending upon the seriousness of the offense any of the less severe guidelines may be skipped. Serious offenses may result in immediate termination from the department.
This policy is not intended to supersede a mature, common sense approach in resolving personal differences, but intended to enforce and respect policies, orders, and decision-making that is critical to Three Star Fire Department’s mission and reputation.
A. The establishment and maintenance of discipline is the responsibility of all officers. Officers' treatment of their subordinates shall be impartial and without prejudice. Favoritism or unjust discrimination of duties or orders will not be tolerated.
B. No unfair advantage shall be taken of a subordinate because of their obligation to obedience. Orders of retaliation or nagging will not be tolerated.
C. Officers shall see that all SOGs are enforced.
D. Officers shall strive to adjust differences or disputes between their subordinates.
E. Charges must be preferred for any offense of a serious nature, but minor or mere technical infractions of the rules should be corrected, either on the spot or privately when advisable. These types of infractions, generally speaking, shall not be made the subject of charges unless repeated or persisted in.
F. Extenuating circumstances will be taken into account, but alleged ignorance or misunderstanding of rules will not be accepted as an excuse. Previous conduct, good or bad, will be taken into account in determining the repercussions.
G. Whenever firefighter performance, attitude, work habits or personal conduct on the job falls below a desirable level, supervisors shall inform the firefighter promptly and specifically of such lapses and give counsel and assistance as appropriate. A reasonable period of time for improvement shall be allowed before initiating disciplinary action.
H. In some instances a specific incident may justify severe disciplinary action in and of itself. However, the action to be taken depends on the seriousness of the incident and the whole pattern of the firefighters past conduct and performance.
Procedure: It is not the intent of this policy to be an absolute list of infractions that are disciplinary in nature. However, most common disciplines are documented within these guidelines.
A. All charges shall be made in writing and signed by the individual preferring the charges.
B. Charges shall be brought for the following violations:
1. Violation of any rule, regulation or lawful order of a superior officer.
2. Inefficiency or incapacity in the performance of duty.
3. Neglect of duty.
4. Reporting to station or emergency call under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
5. Drinking any alcoholic beverage or taking drugs that might incapacitate an
individual while on duty.
6. Refusal to obey orders.
8. Careless or reckless operation of a motor vehicle (privately owned or departmental).
9. Speaking disrespectfully to or of any officer or person connected with the fire
10. Making a false report or statement.
11. Conduct prejudicial to good order or discipline such as: gambling; disorderly
behavior; provoking or harmful mischievous conduct; quarreling,
threatening, fighting or assaulting; creating discrediting public spectacle;
unnecessary disturbance; meddling with Three Star property or belongings of
others; hazing or similar acts.
12. Thievery. The taking of property belonging to the department or an individual
is a serious charge and will not be tolerated.
C. No charges shall be brought unless it is believed the charges can be proven.
D. Charges and complaints brought against a person of higher rank by members of
the department shall be in writing to the next highest ranking officer above the person that the charges are being brought. Such charges and complaints shall be signed by the individual bringing them.
E. Any officer or member of the department charged with an offense shall plead either "guilty" or "not guilty".
F. Any officer or member charged with an infraction of departmental rules shall have the right to answer the charges against him/her and face his/her accuser(s) if he/she so desires.
Types of Disciplinary Action
A. Oral Reprimand - Shall consist of an oral statement of reprimand made to the member. A written record of this oral statement shall be made and kept in the member's personnel file in the fire department records for a period of one (1) year.
B. Written Reprimand - Shall consist of a written statement of reprimand delivered to the member, a copy of which shall be placed in the member's personnel file in the fire department records and shall become a permanent part of his/her records.
C. Suspension - Shall consist of a written notice to the member to the effect that he/she is suspended from participating in any emergency calls and/or Three Star activities for a specified number of days upon grounds stated in the notice. Any member who is arrested and charged with a felony may be removed during the period between arrest and the end of the trial. During this period he or she may be considered in a leave of absence for personal reasons.
D. Reduction of Position/Demotion in Rank - Shall consist of a written notice to the member to the effect that his/her position/rank within the department and the grounds for the action. The seriousness of the infraction will, in most cases, determine this action. An example would be a reduction from officer status to firefighter, or a driver to firefighter. A copy of this notice shall be placed in the members personnel file.
E. Dismissal - Shall consist of dismissing the member from the Fire Department after written notice to that effect is given to the member and shall state the grounds thereof.
F. Dismissal Alternative - Commonly called a "Decision Day", this alternative to dismissal consists of a conference between the Command Staff and the employee to review the history of the problem and to ask the member’s intentions to work within the rules. If the members intentions are to work within the rules, he/she is then advised to take a determined amount of days off (not responding to station for any reason), and use the time to decide whether he/she will correct the problem and continue working or quit. If the firefighter commits to work within the rules, the supervisor writes a letter to the member which makes a record of the agreement reached between them and the consequences of failure to live up to the agreement. Both sign the agreement and both retain copies of the agreement. The firefighter then returns to active status. This alternative is normally in lieu of a suspension. At the end of the suspension period, “decision day” is allowed. When two (2) years have elapsed after the agreement, and there have been no failures, the written agreement may be destroyed, depending of infraction. However, the infraction will become a permanent part of his/her records. If the member decides to quit, process the termination.