Is the San Francisco Fire Chief Saying She Doesn’t Trust Her Firefighters?

Is the San Francisco fire chief saying she doesn’t trust her firefighters by banning cameras?

LA Fire Chief Bans Cameras001

I’ll let you decide for yourself, but I’ve already made my mind up. Actually my mind was made up quite a few years ago when police departments worldwide started using uniform and vehicle mounted cameras and recording devices. Law enforcement went through the same arguments Chief Hayes-White considered and decided that the potential benefits outweighed the negatives as long as they could trust their officers. Without that trust, the cameras could cause a lot of trouble.

You could be caught saying something stupid.

You could get caught doing something wrong.

In this case, you could get caught doing something with tragic consequences, like say running over a person with a fire truck who just survived a plane crash.

It sounds like the Chief can’t trust her people, especially since this article makes it look like a Battalion Chief filmed and leaked the photos.

Law enforcement decided that it was worth it to the officers to ask them to be more professional on camera because the cameras would also protect the officers and supply crucial evidence when needed. If you screw up though, that’s also caught on tape, so you better shape up. Or you could make a command decision just to ban the technology because you can’t trust your people not to screw up. That doesn’t say much for the organization, especially when the organization, in this case the San Francisco Fire Department, bans the technology based on it exposing a tragic mistake.

If you’re not in a fire department or law enforcement, what do you do when your people screw up? If you catch them watching porn or playing on Facebook at work, do you get rid of all the computers or handle it in some other way? Knee-jerk reactions are seldom the best way to deal with things, especially when other groups have already faced the same issues and prevailed.

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at Thanks for reading!


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