CLEARWATER, Kan. — A fire chief and EMS director stepped down in an emergency city council meeting, prompting many responders from the department to do the same in support.
KSN reported that Clearwater Fire Department responders learned Tuesday morning that Chief and EMS Director Scott Cooper had been suspended.
According to KWCH, Cooper was accused of misconduct on social media by former firefighter Donald Schauf. However, the city did not comment on a specific reason for his suspension.
“I'm not going to say (Cooper) is a bad person. He's done a lot of good things, but he's also done a lot of bad things that has caused the morale of the department to drop,” Schauf said.
Cooper resigned in an emergency city council meeting Tuesday night, and eight responders followed suit by handing in resignation letters and removing their “Clearwater Firefighter” shirts and badges in front of city council members.
“This man has countless hours of training and intelligence in the field and has passed it on to many of us,” firefighter John Vanklei, who resigned, said. “This town, this city council could not get behind the department. We're volunteers. We give up our time and our freedom away from our friends and our families and our holidays to defend this community.”
Volunteer firefighter Madison Carney agreed.
“We are standing by his side because he has done a lot of good in the two years he has been in our department,” Carney said.
“This town now has to rely on Haysville, this town now has to rely on Goddard [neighboring fire departments], you are looking at 15-20 minutes before the first apparatus gets on scene,” former volunteer firefighter John Vankle said. “This city has no idea how their insurance is about to go through the roof because of what just happened.”
Cooper said he hopes the community can move on.
“This has been my home for two years,” he said. “I will continue to love this community and move forward but my ties will always be here and I wish nothing but great success for this city.”
Volunteer firefighters said they are now concerned about staffing levels within the department and worry about what would happen in the case of a fire.