Prospective Cape May, New Jersey, firefighters will undergo a revised verified check
that will include work history, drug and driving record screenings, Press of Atlantic City reports.
The new policy is seen as a way to "meet the requirements of the new world and get into the 21st century," fire chief Chuck McPherson told the news source. It will only apply to new members and will be integral in reducing liability for the fire company as well as the borough. While borough attorney Frank Corrado was worried that the stricter requirements would anger some firefighters, he was pleasantly surprised to find company members actually added a stipulation that applicants be of "good moral character." While adherence to this standard will likely be subjective, it was strongly recommended by the firefighters and Corrado "had no problem" including it in the policy. If a firefighter fails to pass the strict screenings, he or she would be denied employment. The Cape May County Herald reported that in mid-November, the city council approved a contract that will allow all firefighters hired before January 1, 2006, to receive annual salary increases of $1,300.