Evansville’s Fire Merit Commission disciplines firefighter

Local

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — After allegedly using a racial slur, Fire Inspector Chad Emsweller with the Evansville Fire Department is facing disciplinary action.

Moving forward, Emsweller wil not be demoted. He will have to report to Chief Mike Connelly on a bi-weekly basis and report to the Fire Merit Commission once every month. The commission said Emsweller will also be responsible for reporting any instance of harassment within the department.

“I think it’s very important that he is involved specifically because he understands the nuances of the department, he’s been a 20+ year employee of the department. He understands the culture and what’s going on within the department. I want him to be able to specifically help us address some of the concerns and issues that lay within the department that are apparent,” said Commissioner Talmadge Vick.

“Unfortunately in 2020, in a city where we put stickers saying, ‘E is for Everyone’ on every single billboard and everything, that in 2020 we find ourselves having to do diversity training,” said Evansville’s resident Pam Martin.

During the meeting commissioner Vick took a moment to call attention to the fact that he is the only black commissioner on the board.

“I don’t look at this as black and white issue, I look at this as an issue and a concern and something that needs to be addressed,” said Vick.

Emsweller has already served a 5 day suspension without pay and will also face a one year zero tolerance probation period. There is not a date set yet for when the training will begin, but the commission has expressed interest in working with the International Association of Firefighters.
Additionally, the commission says they are in the process of forming a hotline firefighters can call to report any issues of harassment within the department.

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

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