Month: September 2016

Training Like a Commercial Driver Minimizes Liability and Probably Accidents Too

In recent news: the Wink Volunteer Fire Department “responded to a tank battery fire around 5 p.m. and the truck was traveling westbound on State Highway 302 with its lights and sirens on. A semi-water hauler passed eastbound traffic and collided head-on with the fire truck.” A firefighter on the truck was killed. The Rock Hill, New York, Fire Co. “had to deal with an emergency right at its own headquarters Tuesday after, the fire chief said, a fire company member, pulling a fire truck out to get it ready for Saturday’s parade, hit the main support beam on...

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Another Cop In Trouble for a Facebook Post – What It Means to Volunteer Firefighters

Yet another online post by a government employee prompts a disciplinary action – showing once again that a government employee does not have the same First Amendment rights as a regular public citizen. According to the Westchester’s Journal News, Mount Vernon Police Officer Richard Castelhano shared – not wrote – an inflammatory post on his Facebook page that was critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Castelhano wasn’t suspended  but could be suspended or terminated for the sharing the post. Castelhano isn’t the first police officer to get into trouble on Facebook.  A New Rochelle police officer was suspended in July for a Facebook post that told protesters “Don’t call the police when your world is in disarray… figure it out yourself or better yet call Shaun King and Black Lives Matter for help.”  A Town of Greenburgh police officer was suspending in April for a Facebook post juxtaposing a photo of blacks in a minivan protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO with one of baboons jumping all over a white woman’s car. The statements referred to above were the government employees’ personal sites. Public employees are generally subject to diminished first amendment rights when they are acting in their official capacity and conducting business for the State.  A key case in this regard is the 1968 Supreme Court case, Pickering v. Board of Education, 391...

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