Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
On 4/3/2019 during a truck check of Ladder 22 along with Firefighter Charles Smith suspicions arose that he may be under the influence of alcohol. Smith was not acting as he normally would and it appeared that he may have been confusing and running his words together and tripping in the truck bays while preforming his checks. Smith was politely asked to speak privately about his state to start investigating the situation. When asking Firefighter Smith if he was possibly under the influence of alcohol at work he stated that someone spilled an alcoholic drink on him the previous night and he did not have time to shower after. While talking with Firefighter Smith it appeared that he could not stand tall without swaying or almost falling over multiple times and the alcohol smell on him was explicit. While not accusing Smith of consuming alcohol I advised him of his expected behavior and responsibility as a firefighter for the Phoenix Fire Department.
Next, I asked Smith more difficult and complex questions about what happened the previous night due to the situation. Smith then began taking longer to answer my questions and eventually quit answering them so I asked Smith if he was honestly not drinking the previous night and he stated that he may have been. I then notified my captain of the situation and my suspicion of what was going on with Firefighter Smith and let him know that Smith will not be answering anymore calls that day until the situation was figured out. Next, I asked my superior Captain Miller if he agreed with my suspicion of Smith which he did so I then advised him that I believed he was in violation of the Phoenix Fire Departments Rules of Conduct MP102.01. I reminded Smith that he was required to not use alcoholic beverages or any drugs that impair his physical or mental capabilities while on duty.
After making sure Smith understood the violations I believed he broke and that he was not permitted to respond to calls until later notified in accordance with Employee Discipline 102.05 he then was told he was required to now go for drug and alcohol testing. He was notified that he could have union representation by Local 493 during the process he was about to begin. I got Smith into a vehicle and drove him to the O.M.C facility at 1551 West Van Buren at around 8:45 A.M. for testing to follow the Phoenix Fire Departments policies. Smith was then advised that what he possibly did was a serious offense and he could have possibly put himself and others at risk. Also, Smith was advised of the possible services available to him through the Department Employee Assistance Program . After the test, I drove Firefighter Smith home and advised him that someone would be in touch from the Department with more details. Also, I advised Smith that in the future behavior like this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and that he should take time to think about the choices he recently made. Once the test results came in later that day and stated that Smith was positive for Alcohol Captain Miller and I decided that some form of disciplinary action was more than likely needed. As the supervisor it was my right to stabilize the situation so Firefighter Smith was suspended from duty with pay for an unknown amount of time. It is the duty of the fire chief to make the final decision on what will happen with firefighter Smith so it is up to him what will happen in the future.