Inspector General Investigates D.C. File Burn - NBC4 Washington

Inspector General Investigates D.C. File Burn

Police and firefighter personnel files found burning in dumpsters



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    The Inspector General is investigating the burning of police and firefighter personnel files last week.

    The fire was brought under control by firefighters who responded to an emergency call at the DC Fire and EMS academy Friday. They were surprised by what they found among the burned debris in three dumpsters and the unburned documents were piled in an abandoned car: Personnel records of firefighters and police officers.

    "They saw documents blowing around the parking lot, and in the dumpsters partially burned,” he said. “Some of my members noticed that their names, Social Security numbers and addresses were on some of these documents, raising concerns about privacy issues and identity theft just on the surface."

    The D.C. Firefighters Association and the Fraternal Order of police asked the Inspector General to investigate the burning of personnel files to determine if it was an accident, a mistake or possible criminal conduct.

    “We just entered a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act request) for recruiting documents because we're having significant problems recruiting police officers,” FOP Chairman Kristopher Baumann said. “We're down 400 police officers. We filed that lawsuit three days before these documents were burned. Given the Department's and the District's history on destroying and altering evidence, we have concerns that run along that path."

    The police and fire unions want to know who ordered the burning of personnel records and why, and they want assurances it will never happen again.