MOBILE, Ala, (WKRG) — Three Mobile firefighters are out of a job because of a controversial social media post. Friday, Mobile Fire-Rescue’s Chief addressed the post and the community’s concerns, making it clear this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
Chief Mark Sealy said as first responders, the public trusts what they do and trust what they say, so it is very important that they are not biased in what they say and put out into the public while representing this department.
“There are questions about the amendment rights and things like that. I served in the US Marine Corps, I fought for that first amendment. I am well aware of what that is and I respect it and will continue to respect it. But what that is is that it protects our people from being imprisoned by the United States government for what they say. You have the right to free speech. You don’t have that right to represent the men and women at the Mobile Fire and Rescue Department,” said Chief Sealy.
As racial tension thickens across the country, more and more people are taking their opinions and frustrations to social media. Which is now landing more and more people in hot water in the workplace.
“I love our department. These are trying times for me,” said Sealy.
An argument inside one of the fire stations over Black Lives Matter protests carried over to social media. A few offensive posts back and forth, causing two firefighters to be terminated and one to resign before the end of the department’s investigation.
“We don’t go looking for it, but when we feel complaints we address them,” said Sealy.
This incident now sparks a conversation about diversity and unity in the department. And revisit social media policies now more than ever.
“That is a platform that the world sees, even if you take it down someone has a copy of it. It is tied to you and it can be tied to our department and our city,” said Sealy.
Chief Sealy also addressed that in the month of July there are plans to continue to educate staff about this matter by providing diversity training and ways to better handle situations as such in the workplace. He also mentioned that this is not a one time deal, but something that will happen often moving forward.