The El Paso Inc. recently published an article uncovering reported hazing done to firefighters at the El Paso Fire Department, and the Fire Chief is responding.
In the article, one young firefighter, who did not want to be named, told El Paso Inc. one ritual involved spray painting a firefighter's genitals, then hoisting him up and parading him around the station.
Fire Chief Mario D'Agostino is now responding to the reports:
"As stated in the recent article, hazing, bullying, sexual harassment, or any other form of misconduct is not tolerated in the El Paso Fire Department. Furthermore, if these type of incidents do occur, firefighters have various avenues to report these acts and can do so confidentially. The Department has taken steps to address these types of activities by having a Human Resource Manager on staff, as well as through the Professional Standards Division, which confidentially investigates all allegations, complaints and discipline issues.
The article also alleges that a current firefighter states these activities still take place. I want all my firefighters to know that if these acts are happening, please come forward so the incidents can be promptly investigated and handled appropriately. Staff should also know that there are several ways to report concerns, including:
- Firefighter's immediate supervisor
- Department Office of Professional Standards, which investigates all concerns.
- Department Office of Human Resources
- City's Human Resources Department
- Directly to the Fire Chief
- Local 51 Union, this gives firefighters the ability to report their concerns outside the City organization by reaching out directly to the Union
- Ethics Line, by calling 866-614-9688
- Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form, found on the City's "Public" drive under the "City Forms" folder
In closing, I encourage anyone who feels they need help to reach out to the free Employee Assistance Program at 915-593-5676. The health and safety of our firefighters is vital to the outstanding services we provide, and I want the entire Department to know that their health and wellbeing is our number one priority."