Evansville Fire Merit Commission discuss changes to increase diversity

Local News

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) The Evansville Fire Merit Commission is working to make changes to improve diversity and end racism in the department.

In January, a fire inspector was disciplined after he told a racially insensitive joke. That incident, along with the current landscape of the country, is pushing for change within the department.

“It is my belief that to change human behavior, you have to be consistent. There has to be organization and intervention that is designed to create a more inclusive environment specifically within the department,” EFD Merit Commissioner Talmadge Vick said.

One proposal would require all firefighters to undergo a diversity and cultural training class.

The other calls for a more diverse human relations committee, which aids in the department’s recruiting and hiring efforts.

Those pushing for the change say they want representation from various backgrounds including females, Hispanics, African-Americans, LGBTQ and other groups.

Vick says cutting out racial biases is necessary for the department moving forward.

“For there to be a way of understanding that there’s certain things that won’t be tolerated and candidly that inclusion and diversity and sensitivity for people has to be one of the standards. Nothing less accepted,” Vick said.

The commission took the proposals under advisement. It will likely vote on them next month. 

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(This story was originally published on June 10, 2020)


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