Fort Smith Fire Department Cracks Down On Social Media Posts

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- After an Arkansas firefighter was fired for a post he made on social media, the Fort Smith Fire Department opens up about how it's making sure situations like that don't happen in our area.

Earle firefighter, Jonathan Marotti was fired after taking to Facebook to voice his opinion about NFL players kneeling at games.

Marotti posted in part:

"Each player that takes a knee or sits in the locker room should be shot in the head."

At what standard are first responders here at home held to when it comes to social media?

"We're trusted to go into a citizen's home when they're not home," Boyd Waters, Fort Smith Fire Department assistant fire chief said. "We are held accountable, we hold our guys accountable and I expect to be held accountable."

Fort Smith firefighters are required to go through social media training on top of the guidelines the department puts in place.

"It just kind of refreshes that memory," Waters said. "Even if you're liking something, that is still you saying that to a certain extent, so watch what you're doing and watch what you're posting."

A three-page section is included in the department's operation manual, all to make sure inappropriate posts aren't made on social media.

"You're still representing the department, still representing the city," Waters said. "You're representing your surrounding and you don't want to do anything that's going to discredit yourself or the fire department."

In Chief Waters' 17 years with the department, he said he's never seen a problem with firefighters and social media and he hopes to keep it that way.

"Before you sit down and hit that send button, really think about it," Waters said. "Is it really worth it to put some comment on there?"

The Fort Smith fire chief does monitor firefighters' social media posts regularly.

As for the Fort Smith Police Department, its social media police states officers will be held responsible for the content that appears on their social media sites. Officers are also required to go through social media training.