“Over 200 Massachusetts EMTs Suspended in Certification Scheme” is a headline that will get your attention!
Many of you will recall that FirefighterNation posted a news story back on May 27, 2010 about this: http://firefighternation.com/forum/topics/boston-firefighters-among.
In a recent news article (http://firefighternation.com/forum/topics/over-200-massachusetts-emts) that was posted on June 18, 2010, you will find more current information, including punishments that have already been delivered.
It has also been handed over to the states’ attorney general for further action, if warranted.
What struck me was the very last comment in the http://firefighternation.com/forum/topics/over-200-massachusetts-emts article. It stated:
Auerbach said some of the EMTs caught up in the probe expressed remorse for their actions, but others ‘did not quite understand the severity of their actions!
That statement simply blows me away.
Is it stealing?
Is it cheating?
Is it fraud?
Is it a criminal act?
Now; I am not sitting on my pedestal, high atop of moral ground, but; when you commit a dishonest act, you can either continue down that path and end up in REAL trouble or you can see the errors of your ways and correct it.
We are not talking about sneaking a peek at someone’s poker hand when they leave the table to go to the restroom.
We are not talking about taking a couple of tomatoes from your neighbor’s garden.
We are not talking about a kid writing the answers on their arm to test questions on a high school exam.
We are not talking about someone who drives 5 mph over the posted speed limit.
We are not talking about someone’s indiscretion only hurting them.
No; we are talking about someone who took money to go to classes, did not attend those classes and received credit anyway and was re-certified as a giver of advanced medical care.
We are talking about actions taken that will hurt a fire department ambulance service and a community for months and even years to come.
Others on the fire department who did the required work to re-certify as an EMT will be resentful and distrustful of those who “bought” their re-certification.
The face of the fire department will no longer be the face of one of the most trusted occupations on Earth.
The public will feel that their trust has been violated. They won’t know who to trust. They won’t know which ones cheated and which ones didn’t, so they will distrust ALL of them! It doesn’t matter to the public if this is the first or the tenth time. The time is NOW.
So; though the public might not be interested in learning the pathology of this scandal, I have to wonder if this type of behavior has been reinforced by years of not getting caught for other dishonest acts.
I have to wonder if these thieves cheated on exams during their high school days, then college and then, they fabricated a job resume that got them hired to their jobs. I wonder if they are getting “free” cable TV from their neighbors.
In their world, dishonesty has become their reality, so they would not view their dishonest actions as wrong or at the very least “no big deal”.
They got caught this time, so they’ll just pay the money again and take the test. No problem, right?
Ask yourself if you would rather have someone who cheated at card games, but studied hard, did their practicals, kept up on their in-service training so that they could re-certify their EMT license OR someone who paid off an instructor to get a free pass on their re-certification. Hmmm…
Get out the deck of cards!
How screwed up does your moral compass have to be to NOT comprehend that lying, cheating and stealing to gain re-certification of life-saving skills is wrong?
Here’s a paradoxical question for you and you don’t have to raise your hand: how many of you would cheat if you KNEW that you could get away with it?
Some of you will answer “no” and will be completely honest.
Some of you will answer “no” and be lying about it.
Some of you will answer “yes” because, in your mind, the reward is worth the risk.
Some of you will answer “yes” but will try to rationalize it with the old “I didn’t have time to study” argument.
Still, some of you will answer “yes” because the few times that you got caught, you simply had to re-take the test, get lectured by your parents and promise never to do it again. Oh; the AGONY!
So; would an EMT who got their certification COD be qualified? Would YOU want to take that chance?
How would you feel if you found out that the guy who did your surgery was actually the night shift janitor at the hospital?
Or that the marriage counselor that you are seeing has been divorced FIVE times?
How about the drivers’ education teacher who has not had a valid drivers’ license for three years (DUI) and is teaching your sweet child?
I know how I would feel!
Why then, would instructors want to risk their teaching certificates and their students be willing to violate the public’s trust?
For the money?
Because they are lazy?
Because they didn’t think that they would get caught?
Because they thought that they knew everything anyway?
Because they thought that they were “different and special”?
Because they didn’t care?
Because they weren’t smart enough to pass it on their own?
No matter; rational people won’t be willing or able to justify it under any circumstances.
It may not feel good to be beaten by a team that cheats, but it would feel worse to “out-cheat” them in order to win. Remember: cheaters never win and winners never cheat!
We have to continue to believe that hard work has its rewards. Honesty, integrity, moral fiber and ethics have to drive those of us who are in public safety.
If we don’t conduct ourselves in that manner, then we will be facing moral dilemmas each and every day.
And little by little, our public’s trust will continue to erode.
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