Former Fire Chief Calls Out 'Secret Police' in Cal Fire Department

Cal Fire Department

A distinguished firefighter for the state of California with 24 years of service was forced to resign a month ago due to allegations that he helped a captain with whom he had previously worked cheat on a test that the captain failed to pass.

Jeff Isaacs was the assistant fire chief for the Fresno fire department and many believe that the handling of his case is the byproduct of a ‘get tough’ attitude on all things related to discipline following an investigation in 2014 that revealed a pattern of sexual misconduct at the fire academy.

The allegations against Isaacs had far-reaching implications as other that sat for the exam to be promoted to battalion chief in November of 2016. The position initially taken by Cal Fire was that the test should be completely voided which would have disqualified the results for 289 individuals that successfully passed the test.

The source of the accusations against Issacs is a discussion that took place for 23 minutes by phone with former subordinate Fire Captain Scott Phillips that was said to have taken place shortly after Issacs learned that he was assigned to be part of the panel that would interview candidates for the exam.

Phillips when speaking with investigators said that Issacs gave specific information to him about what he should study in preparation for the exam.

The 44-year-old Isaacs is adamant that he did not seek to provide Phillips with an unfair advantage on the exam and says that the department is only trying to make an example of him. He also went on to say that Ken Pimlott, Director for the Cal Fire Department, has set a standard for investigations that is equivalent to a “secret police” department.

In a 68-page report written by a retired battalion chief on the matter, neither Isaacs’ or Phillips’ account of the matter was deemed to be trustworthy. The retired battalion chief said that he can only lean toward being more accepting of Phillips account due to his belief that Phillips had less incentive to be dishonest.

In a letter to Issacs, Pimlott admonishes him for being dishonest about the matter and not accepting responsibility for his actions. Pimlott expressed this unwillingness to accept responsibility as indicating a credible likelihood that Issacs would commit similar actions in the future.

Phillips told investigators that he had taken notes from the conversation between himself and Isaacs but has never produced them.


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