MOUNT VERNON — The integrity of the Mount Vernon Fire Department’s record keeping came under fire as Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher discovered it is possible that not all firefighters finished continuing education courses when called out on emergency runs. Thatcher encouraged the department to conduct an internal audit of the process and self-report to the Department of Public Safety there could have been questionable certifications issued.
Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director Dave Glass said citizens should not be worried. He is confident all the firefighters and all the paramedics in the fire department are properly trained and qualified to do their jobs.
Glass said allegations that some individuals received credit for training they did not complete are not true. Each individual firefighter has to submit the training information to the Department of Public Safety which has to approve the recertification, he said. The department of public safety also conducts random audits of paramedics to make sure the certification is current and correct.
“We will certainly look into this accusation,” he continued. “This is a different situation than with Christy. What we are dealing with now is whether firefighters who got called out of a class due to an emergency call — and were out for an hour — did they finish their class or not. That’s the thing I think we’re dealing with now. ... The mayor [Richard Mavis] and I will be talking with the chief [Chris Menapace] in the next couple of days about anything we need to do to review our own records, maybe even self monitor right now while the bureau is doing it, too. We want it to be right as much as anybody. I’m comfortable that it is, but you certainly have to go in and take a look when an accusation is made.”
Chief Christy was on paid administrative leave for 87 days.
Menapace on Tuesday assured the News that training policies are in place and declined further comment on matters related to the Christy case.
Geoff Dutton, media relations director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, confirmed that random certification audits are performed on a monthly basis, but declined comment further at this time.