If you want to be a volunteer sheriff’s deputy you will be fingerprinted and background checked.

If you want to volunteer for Riverside County Fire you will be fingerprinted and background checked. Volunteer for Mountain Community Patrol and you will be fingerprinted and background checked.

Heck, volunteer in your child’s classroom and you will undergo the same process.

So why is it that fire service members of Idyllwild Fire aren’t? Well, IFPD has a memorandum prohibiting the department from running criminal background checks against it employees. Hmmm.

As a point of order, the Idyllwild volunteer firefighters were prohibited from serving with Cal Fire because they refused their criminal background screenings.

IFPD steps up to the plate and says, “Have we got a deal for you — no background checks.”

Stupid is as stupid does. The lawsuit from an abused patient/property owner will be outrageous. Can you imagine IFPD answering to a judge why they didn’t feel background checks were necessary when every other fire agency does?

It reminds me of when the Idyllwild Community Recreation Council felt that criminal background checks and fingerprints weren’t necessary of their employees, when low and behold, their youth activities director had a warrant out for his arrest, then almost killed his minor passengers after using controlled substances and driving.

Call it a criminal conviction and time served, except for the ones who had grave bodily injuries. Grow up, Idyllwild.

I, for one, will prohibit any IFPD employee entering my property without a criminal background check and fingerprints. It’s a matter of public safety and the safety of my family.

Jeff Smith
Pine Cove

Editor’s note: Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz stated that, despite the memorandum, he will be requiring fingerprinting and background checks for all Idyllwild personnel and volunteers.