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Mayor Garcetti: LAFD recruiting 'fatally flawed,' needs reform

Mayor Eric Garcetti calls the Los Angeles Fire Department's recruiting process 'fatally flawed' and in need of reform.
March 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday plans to reform the Los Angeles Fire Department's recruiting process, which has recently come under fire for bringing in relatives of current staff.

As a result, the next scheduled fire academy class of about 70 cadets will not be held and the department will no longer hire from the current civil service list. An LAFD Professional Standards Division investigation will also be launched.

"I have determined that the fire department's recruiting process is fatally flawed," Garcetti said. "The integrity of its recruiting process is vital to ensuring the department responds quickly, is technologically advanced and reflects the city it serves in the future."

The fire department has faced criticism for its recruiting practices. The numbers show about 20 percent of the recruits in a new firefighter class are related to existing employees.

Garcetti said his decision was made after learning that fire department staff organized special recruiting workshops for LAFD insiders. Some recruits were also related to senior managers with oversight over the recruitment and training process.

RAND Corporation will review the recruiting process and new hiring is expected to begin in next fiscal year.

"It's important to make sure the hiring process is fair and equitable," Interim Fire Chief James Featherstone said. "I am confident in our ability to keep L.A. safe with our 3,300 current firefighters, who exemplify professionalism and excellence."