Firefighters Face Disciplinary Action for Porn on Computers

Firefighters Face Disciplinary Action for Porn on Computers
Tod Hunter
BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Eight Butler firefighters face disciplinary action for downloading or watching pornographic or graphically violent videos while on duty. The firefighters, including four in supervisory positions or with supervising duties, were suspended on Jan. 2.

Originally, 10 firefighters were the focus of an internal affairs investigation by the Butler police department that began early in December, but two have resigned and face no further action.

The remaining firefighters will face hearings before the Butler Board of Trustees on Jan. 14.

In the investigation report, police chief Danny Hobbs found a "preponderance of evidence" that misconduct had occurred with the downloading and/or watching of pornographic or inappropriate materials while on duty, with occurrences dating back as far as 2003. There was no evidence of criminal violations, such as child pornography, in video files and pictures recovered from township computers. "Employees must be held accountable for the use and misuse of government resources," Hobbs wrote in the report. "Uses that interfere with the effective and efficient operation or that could potentially embarrass the township is forbidden."

Several of the firefighters admitted knowing the material was inappropriate and attempting to clear it off the computers.

The investigation also found images considered "inappropriate" for work, including graphic videos of street fighting and military videos depicting battles, snipers and death.