LAFD Museum and Memorial blog remarks on the retirement of Fire Chief William Bamattre. Chief Bamattre retired due to circumstances surrounding a firehouse prank involving an African American firefighter who was fed dog food by fellow crew members.
Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa commented on Chief Bamattre’s departure;
“New leadership will help set a new tone and extinguish the incendiary practices of hazing and harassment that have plagued the department for some time,”
Villaraigosa is a touchy feely, PC embracing girly man liberal but he may have a point here.
Pranks and rough jokes are part of the job. Practical jokes act as bonding rituals. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the dog food prank but it appears a line was crossed even though the complaining firefighter was (according to the Argonaut piece) was a prankster as well.
Firefighter Tennie Pierce may have had a right to complain and he did not deserve continued harassment after doing so. Pierce left the department as a result of the harassment.
So Chief Bamattre quit, not because the incident was his fault but because the fire service has changed. It’s more a profession today than it was when his career began.
I hope the Chief enjoys his retirement. He will be remembered as one of the finest administrators in the department’s history.