Salisbury Fire Chief sets new plan after sexual misconduct investigation | News
SALISBURY - In his first public communication since a sexual misconduct scandal was uncovered at the Salisbury Fire Department on Tuesday, Chief Bob Parnell is outlining a new plan to prevent such a scandal from happening again.
Three firefighters were fired and one was demoted for their part in a scandal involving inappropriate pictures being shared, sexual activity at work, and sexual harassment. It's the second such episode in two years. In 2011 three firefighters were fired and two were disciplined after an internal investigation.
Here, unedited, is the Chief's response and first public statements on the latest incident:
Earlier today the internal investigation into the Salisbury Fire Department was closed. The Salisbury Fire Department and the City of Salisbury consider violations of our policies and procedures very serious, as evidenced by our swift and thorough investigation and resulting action.
Over the next month, our department will be working with our Human Resources staff to develop a course of action to ensure that a situation of this nature will not reoccur.
This course of action will consist of three components: 1) a review of actions and changes after the 2011 incident to determine if any were ineffective 2) a review of best practices based upon an analysis of similar conduct in other agencies and 3) the creation of a revised zero tolerance policy that will dictate termination as the outcome for failing to comply with our reporting procedure.
This process will begin on Monday, December 3. This information will be presented to the public and processed accordingly with our staff.
As your Fire Chief, I assure you that at no point during the course of this incident was the fire protection of our community compromised. Our department employs many outstanding and dedicated firefighters who have devoted their careers to upholding the long standing tradition of the Salisbury Fire Department and honor daily our oath, which states, “. . . I dedicate myself to reduce the risk of fire and hazards and to protect lives and property in Salisbury, North Carolina. As a Salisbury Firefighter, I shall maintain honor and integrity with excellent physical, mental and emotional fitness and perform my duty to the best of my ability.”
- Salisbury Fire Chief, Robert A. Parnell
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