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September 27, 2019

Burn It Down

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, people everywhere are demanding that police departments change not just their rules, but the culture inside that leads to these deaths. But those things are notoriously hard to change. As a case study, here's the story of a fire department that gets a new boss who starts a war with his own firefighters, to change their macho, racist culture. They fight back hard.

Adam Maida

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.

Prologue

The Amsterdam Fire Department has a very surprising sensitivity training video called “The Incident with the Helmet." (5 minutes)

A Policeman Burns Down the Firehouse

A strongman gets hired to take over the Amsterdam Fire Department. He’s a career police officer named Leen Schaap who has zero firefighting experience. That does not go over so well. Joanna Kakissis reports the story. (42 minutes)

Song:

“Time For You to Go” by The Little Fuller Band