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Austin officials: Female firefighter's locker defaced
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN ^ | Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Tony Plohetski, Kate Alexander

Posted on 01/10/2007 5:48:25 AM PST by Jonx6

Police investigating incident at North Austin station.

Authorities are investigating an incident in which a recently promoted Austin firefighter found human excrement smeared on her locker at a Duval Road fire station.

Firefighter Rebecca Farris discovered the waste when she showed up to work Dec. 21, about four months after being promoted to drive the fire engine at Station 25 in Northwest Austin, fire officials said Tuesday. Officials said she also found urine in a shampoo bottle.

Assistant City Manager Mike McDonald said police investigators might require the 15 firefighters assigned to the station to provide DNA and fingerprint samples to determine who was responsible. He said criminal charges are possible.

"We're going to do everything we can to the fullest extent of the law and everything we can administratively to get to the bottom of it," McDonald said.

Farris, who joined the department in 1993, declined to comment.

Stephen Truesdell, president of the Austin Firefighters Association, said that the incident was sad and unfortunate and that he hoped it would be resolved quickly.

"Our members should be able to enjoy a harassment-free workplace," Truesdell said.

The incident raises new questions about the acceptance of women and minorities into a profession that in Austin has historically drawn white males.

Women make up about 4 percent of firefighters in the Austin Fire Department. Farris is the lone woman at Station 25.

In 2005, city officials made diversity a focus of contract negotiations with the firefighters union and attracted a current cadet class that is 17 percent female.

The working environment has improved over the years, but problems still exist, said Jan Wesson, past president of the Austin Women Firefighters.

The problems are exacerbated by the department's lack of a strong policy to prevent discrimination and hostility in the workplace, said Wesson, who has almost 23 years of experience. She was not speaking for the organization, whose current leaders declined to comment.

Firefighters who have learned about the incident have been appalled, Wesson said, and the perpetrators are the exception.

McDonald said, "This is a sick act by one or two individuals and is certainly not something that takes place in the culture of this organization."

Fire Department spokeswoman Michelle DeCrane said that supervisors alerted Chief J.J. Adame about the incident the day it happened and that he immediately began an investigation.

Officers in the department's professional standards unit initially investigated and gave their findings to Austin police.

Austin police said they could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

"The Austin Fire Department prides itself on creating a culture of freedom and personal responsibility," Adame said in a statement. "Those in the department who go against that philosophy are not only a personal disappointment to me but to every citizen who entrusts us with their lives, their property and their tax dollars.

"The bottom line is that we won't and don't put up with this sort of behavior."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: austin; firefighter; firemen; firewomen
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1 posted on 01/10/2007 5:48:27 AM PST by Jonx6
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To: Jonx6

Having known a few firefighters, I would not be surprised if this was standard practice for people who got promoted.

They pulled some crazy sh1t on each other all the time.

I used to work in a job that was owned by a firefighter and he had a lot of them coming in part time on their off hours. They did a lot of drinking, and a lot of crazy stuff.


2 posted on 01/10/2007 5:50:35 AM PST by Paloma_55 (I may be a hateful bigot, but I still love you)
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To: Jonx6
Jeez, will civil rights charges be lodged as well???
While vile, it doesn't really warrant so much attention or investigation... (imo).
3 posted on 01/10/2007 5:50:50 AM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: Jonx6

Sounds like somebody is in need of diversity re-education........


4 posted on 01/10/2007 5:50:59 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Jonx6

I hope they PLEASE get DNA! This incident can be easily traced. I would look forward to these guys being assigned to clean the facility with their toothbrushes, for 6 months.

In fact, the jocks who did this har har are so stupid-nasty they shouldn't be sucking up valuable oxygen among us much less being rescue heroes.


5 posted on 01/10/2007 5:51:50 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: Jonx6

Calling FOXCBSNBCABC News!


6 posted on 01/10/2007 5:52:13 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Jonx6

YEP! It's a "hate crime"!!~/sarc. It happened to a female, in a place filled with white guys. Whoever did this will be punished more severely than any Middle Eastern terrorist.


7 posted on 01/10/2007 5:52:44 AM PST by albie
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To: Jonx6
Assistant City Manager Mike McDonald said police investigators might require the 15 firefighters assigned to the station to provide DNA and fingerprint samples to determine who was responsible.

Ick. Pretty juvenile stuff. That DNA evidence can be a two edged sword though. They better also test the accuser. Just in case.

8 posted on 01/10/2007 5:52:46 AM PST by Kenton (All vices in moderation. I don't want to overdo any but I don't want to skip any either.)
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To: theDentist

I look at these kinds of "incidents" with skepticism since that teacher (CA?) faked her harrassments, claiming she was targeted for being black and a woman. Now I look to the individual in question and wonder if she may be an "activist".......


9 posted on 01/10/2007 5:53:10 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Jonx6
Authorities are investigating an incident in which a recently promoted Austin firefighter found human excrement smeared on her locker....

"We're going to do everything we can to the fullest extent of the law and everything we can administratively to get to the bottom of it," McDonald said.

Some things write themselves.

10 posted on 01/10/2007 5:54:08 AM PST by edpc (The pen is mightier than the sword......until you fight someone.)
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To: silverleaf

It could be a fake. She may have done it herself.........It has happened before........


11 posted on 01/10/2007 5:54:20 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger

DNA trace will show who plays with their poop.


12 posted on 01/10/2007 5:55:16 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: theDentist
> Jeez, will civil rights charges be lodged as well??? While vile, it doesn't really warrant so much attention or investigation... (imo).

It's pretty gross to smear sh!t on somebody's locker or piss in their shampoo. Sounds like something I'd expect from 13-year old twerps.

I don't have a problem with them figuring out who did it (via DNA for example), but the remedy shouldn't be some damn civil rights suit.

How about just make the perps eat a bowlful of worms and boogers in front of the rest of the crew? They like gross stuff, so that seems about right to me... (only half joking)

13 posted on 01/10/2007 5:56:31 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: silverleaf

But not who plays with someone elses.........


14 posted on 01/10/2007 5:57:38 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: silverleaf

Not very smart! The person who did it should come forward and save the rest of his or her (...although it is probably a dude because no self-respecting female would smear crap on anything...) team the time and humiliation.


15 posted on 01/10/2007 5:57:43 AM PST by brwnsuga
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To: dayglored

FearFactor Punishment?........


16 posted on 01/10/2007 5:58:26 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger
> It could be a fake. She may have done it herself.........It has happened before........

That's the best reason I can think of to do the DNA test. I don't like what happened, but I would like it even less if it was self-perpetrated.

If it turns out she did it, make HER eat the bowlful of worms and boogers. (See #13)

17 posted on 01/10/2007 5:58:36 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Red Badger
> But not who plays with someone elses.........

Just.... EEWW-WWW-WWWW!

18 posted on 01/10/2007 5:59:34 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Kenton

The test will tell them immediately whether it was a man or a woman.


19 posted on 01/10/2007 5:59:45 AM PST by wideawake
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To: albie

in a place filled with white guys

any guy, white or not, who does this type of thing, needs to be punished -it is a wonder that people who are charged with saving lives could be so disgusting and immature


20 posted on 01/10/2007 5:59:51 AM PST by brwnsuga
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To: FFforFreedom

ping


21 posted on 01/10/2007 6:00:57 AM PST by basil (Exercise your Second Amendment rights--buy another gun today.)
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To: Red Badger
> FearFactor Punishment?........

Hey, why not... seems fitting, sort of.

22 posted on 01/10/2007 6:02:30 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Jonx6

Hmm... So it just interesting that a bunch of dead birds were found in Austin, TX recently.


23 posted on 01/10/2007 6:02:30 AM PST by Alia
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To: Jonx6
The Horror! Will they be bringing in the CSI crew to solve this heinous crime?
24 posted on 01/10/2007 6:02:41 AM PST by Rummyfan (Iraq: Give therapeutic violence a chance!)
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To: Jonx6
Before ANYONE jumps to conclusions (and perish the notion that I think anyone should treat others so awfully); in San Francisco minority firefighters claimed SWASTIKAS on their lockers. HUGE HEADLINES, HUGE INVESTIGATION.

Some time later, page 1millionB, smallest print possible, turns out the minority firefighters had painted the SWASTIKAS on their own lockers.

Let's not all rush to judgement. If she has been harassed by OTHERS, let's kick their patooties after a full and complete investigation, which may or may not be printed ON FRONT PAGES, if they find a guilty "other" Firefighter; on Page 1millionB, smallest print possible, if it turns out she or a pal did it as a set-up.

25 posted on 01/10/2007 6:05:31 AM PST by Alia
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To: dayglored

exactly... how much does it cost to run a dna test?


26 posted on 01/10/2007 6:05:34 AM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: Red Badger

I agree...might well be staged. Before they investigate anything, the department better check if she has a radical feminist background.


27 posted on 01/10/2007 6:05:59 AM PST by indcons (Kirk Herbstreit - loser extraordinaire and buffoon)
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To: Jonx6
"The problems are exacerbated by the department's lack of a strong policy to prevent discrimination and hostility in the workplace, said Wesson, who has almost 23 years of experience.

Twice a year Austin Firefighters are required to do a "Personnel Development Evaluation" where both the FF and his/her Supervisor must sign that "We have reviewed and discussed important personnel polices including the current Sexual Harassment Policy."

It is the only policy to be singled out by name as being reviewed twice a year.

28 posted on 01/10/2007 6:09:42 AM PST by Jonx6
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To: Jonx6

Doesn't appear to be very effective then. There is a difference between a prank and disgusting human behavior.

In my book, going thru the motions doesn't count.


29 posted on 01/10/2007 6:13:40 AM PST by SengirV
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To: Alia

Or it could just be a ticked off ex-boyfriend among the firefighters; or any other of her co-employees she's got a feud going with.


30 posted on 01/10/2007 6:14:32 AM PST by joebuck
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To: Jonx6
No one else has said it yet, and since I'm feeling controversial today, here it goes:

Women have no business being firefighters. They lack the upper-body strength to carry an injured person down a ladder, let alone a hose UP a ladder. They also destroy unit cohesiveness in the firehouse. Their very presence is a danger to innocent civilians.

31 posted on 01/10/2007 6:17:09 AM PST by -=SoylentSquirrel=- (Oh gosh, I can't beleive I said that!)
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To: Jonx6

They should fire the responsible party(ies). I don't care one hoot about any diversity crime. This behavior is beneath the level of maturity that the taxpayers require in their employees.


32 posted on 01/10/2007 6:19:45 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: brwnsuga

"any guy, white or not, who does this type of thing, needs to be punished -it is a wonder that people who are charged with saving lives could be so disgusting and immature"


...listen, brownsugar, I lived in Austin for 8 years, was a talk radio host there, and it is, without a doubt, one of the biggest "I hate whitey" liberal toilets in the country! This article says it all when it says "firefighters are historically white males" yada, yada. Smearing feces on a locker is uncalled for and is unprofessional, but who are we to say that this woman didn't get her promotion simply by being a woman. She IS the ONLY woman there! Brave and patriotic! Much braver than the white guys I'm sure! I'm also sure that they've been helping to carry her load during her tenure there and are probably a bit tired of it. Women aren't "historically" as strong, physically, as men. This is the basis for earlier arguments against allowing women into this line of work in the 1st place. Frustration can go a long way and cause the most even tempered to lose it!


33 posted on 01/10/2007 6:20:07 AM PST by albie
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To: Red Badger
It could be a fake. She may have done it herself.........It has happened before........

In the last ten years or so: Many,many, many times.

34 posted on 01/10/2007 6:22:02 AM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: SengirV
"In my book, going thru the motions doesn't count."

Besides reviewing and discussing the sexual harassment policy twice a year with your supervisor, what else should be done, in your opinion?

35 posted on 01/10/2007 6:24:06 AM PST by Jonx6
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To: Jonx6
Someone went anal!
36 posted on 01/10/2007 6:25:40 AM PST by Tolkien ("It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." ---Voltaire)
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To: albie

I'm also sure that they've been helping to carry her load during her tenure there and are probably a bit tired of it.

How in the hell do you know that? She might be 5'11'' and 185 lbs and can bench 300 lbs. If you are a real man, you would not be threatened because she gets to drive the damn truck. If you claim to be a man, be a man and treat all women with chilvalry and respect. I don't see how anyone could excuse this type of behavior. AND human feces can be full of very dangerous microbes that spread and cause disease. If someone did this to your wife, mother or sister, I dare say you'd be very disturbed by it. If someone did this to me, I'd slash his tires, key his paintjob and put sugar in his gas tank.(but that's between us)


37 posted on 01/10/2007 6:32:19 AM PST by brwnsuga
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To: Jonx6

Can DNA prove shit? We may be about to have an answer.


38 posted on 01/10/2007 6:35:06 AM PST by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: -=SoylentSquirrel=-
Women have no business being firefighters. They lack the upper-body strength to carry an injured person down a ladder, let alone a hose UP a ladder. They also destroy unit cohesiveness in the firehouse. Their very presence is a danger to innocent civilians.

And all those issues are usually brought to the forefront on a case by case basis in the probationary period or the first couple of years. From the article:

Farris, who joined the department in 1993, declined to comment.

She has been there over 13 years, I'd say she earned her place in the department. This was a personal and childish attack.

39 posted on 01/10/2007 6:37:21 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: dayglored

IF her LOCKer was locked, how did someone get the shampoo bottle to replace the contents? (however gross that is).

From a validity/chain of evidence standpoint, does this polluted bottle of shampoo actually exist, or was it claimed to exist? What test was applied to prove it was urine? (however seemingly obvious that might be)

Ya have to remember that Tawana Brawley smeared excrement on herself to make her claims.

But clearly, someone in that station IS a dipsh!t ;-)


40 posted on 01/10/2007 6:37:44 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: RGSpincich
"...She has been there over 13 years, I'd say she earned her place in the department..."

The fact that she has been with the department for 13 years only proves that political correctness has been implemented for that long, not that she has the necessary skills and strength to pick up a grown man and carry him out of a burning building.

Firefighters save lives,
Female firefighters risk lives.

41 posted on 01/10/2007 6:42:47 AM PST by -=SoylentSquirrel=- (Oh gosh, I can't beleive I said that!)
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To: -=SoylentSquirrel=-

Not true. Not every role in firefighting requires carrying humans. She drives the engine, probably works comms/ valves/ pumps/ EMT stuff. (But how many male firefighters are restricted on the roles they can fill cuz of strength?)

True: everyone who fights structural fires -- goes in-- or 'mans' a hose needs to be strong enough to do their job.

True - is she (or anyone) ain't strong enough to haul my unconscious arse out of a tight spot, then don't put them in there with me. ... as long as that role is expected of the person.


Just my opinion, based somewhat on experience. (been a volunteer firefighter)


42 posted on 01/10/2007 6:43:45 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Jonx6

Happens regularly across the nation... but because it's a woman, it's a headline story. PC is a sickness.


43 posted on 01/10/2007 6:43:46 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: edpc

LOL


44 posted on 01/10/2007 6:44:43 AM PST by JTHomes
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To: -=SoylentSquirrel=-

After 13 years the burden of proof is on you.


45 posted on 01/10/2007 6:45:23 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: brwnsuga

he didn't excuse the behaviour, he tried to explain it -- there's a difference. A rationale/motive is not an excuse. read his post?


46 posted on 01/10/2007 6:46:22 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Jonx6

I've been in companies that took this stuff seriously, and some that did not. It's obvious if you've experienced both.


47 posted on 01/10/2007 6:50:42 AM PST by SengirV
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To: Jonx6

A good fist fight will settle this. If she weren't an equal match to the men she wouldn't be there right?


48 posted on 01/10/2007 6:54:34 AM PST by ansel12 (America, love it ,or at least give up your home citizenship before accepting ours too.)
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To: Jonx6

Keep in mind this is Austin, Texas' embodiment of Berkeley or Ithica. The clouds of outrage would not have developed over most of the state.


49 posted on 01/10/2007 6:58:21 AM PST by Dionysius
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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