Leadership, Officer Development

Challenges Behind the Officer’s Collar Brass

Issue 7 and Volume 172.

By Craig A. Haigh Firefighters and fire departments place great emphasis on promotion. Candidates applying for fire service entry-level jobs often list promotion as a long-term career goal. Many tenured firefighters indicate that they are working toward becoming officers. Departments and individual members spend significant dollars preparing for these future promotions. Training classes, certification as a fire officer, formalized college education, and time “acting” are all typical areas of focus. For unionized departments, promotional standards may be a mandatory subject of bargaining, in which case the specifics of the overall promotional process are outlined in the collective-bargaining agreement. In some cases, such as in Illinois, the Fire Department Promotional Act (2003-2006, 2008-2011)1 determines how fire service promotions are made. Departments not subject to collective-bargaining agreements or general statutes generally have detailed policies that establish promotional standards and practices. With this much focus on promotions at the beginning of a firefighter’s…

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