Firefighters in Texas are regulated by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP), as are other fire safety professionals in fire safety and fire service organizations. The Commission manages the licenses of fire safety professionals at nearly 750 departments in seven separate regions within the state, while offering 31 courses and 49 certificates in fire safety. And it is responsible for collecting, reviewing, and investigating complaints made against fire safety professionals who fall under its umbrella, under the mission statement. The Commission is vested with the authority to discipline any licensee, including actions up to and including suspension or even revocation of a license.
Complaints against firefighters and other fire safety professionals are submitted for any number of reasons, including for violation of regulations issued by the Commission. Some of the common allegations include failure to adhere to safety procedures and protocols; use of drugs or alcohol while on duty; other inappropriate activity while on duty; abuse of overtime, sick leave, pensions or other benefits; and engaging in any form of criminal activity, whether on duty or off.
The Commission has thirty days from the receipt of the complaint to begin an investigation into the charges alleged. To do so, it determines whether it has jurisdiction over the allegations made in the complaint. If it does have such jurisdiction, the investigation will be launched. From the outset, it is vital to have an experienced professional license defense attorney at your side to help guide the scope of the investigation to the fullest extent possible.
The Commission takes a few different factors into consideration when determining what sort of penalties to apply to a fire safety professional who its investigation determines to have committed violations. The panel will look at the seriousness of the violation, whether it caused any threat of safety to either the public or other fire personnel, whether there is any previous history of failures of compliance, and any other factors that could be taken to shape the panel’s decision, including factors that could serve to mitigate the severity of any disciplinary ruling imposed.
An experienced professional license defense attorney is of great benefit throughout this process, and may be able to help prevent the worst. Do not hesitate to contact us. The more time we have to craft a response to the very first communication you receive—on which there are almost always deadlines to meet—the better able we will be to craft your strategic defense and set the scope of the investigation in your favor. BERTOLINO, LLC will go the distance, from the very first stage of the process (where we can be effective at forestalling disciplinary proceedings) all the way to the end of any disciplinary proceedings that may occur as a result.
To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.