City of Hernando investigates whether firefighter is - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City of Hernando investigates whether firefighter is convicted felon

(WMC-TV) - The City of Hernando is investigating to see if one of its own firefighters is a convicted felon in Alabama.

The investigation began after Action News 5 received a tip that a Hernando firefighter is working on the job with a criminal history. After learning about the tip, Hernando City Attorney Kenneth Stockton met with the fire chief and mayor.

"We've already begun an investigation and we're looking into this matter very seriously," said Stockton.

Action News 5 obtained a criminal history for a Frankie Daniel Barnett out of Morgan County, Alabama. Although, Hernando officials have not officially confirmed if it is the same person.

Documents provided by the Morgan County circuit clerk's office show Frankie Daniel Barnett pleaded guilty to second degree robbery in 1998. That was a felony conviction. Separately, he also pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and carrying a pistol in a managed wildlife area. Those are misdemeanor charges.

When Action News 5's Michael Clark called Hernando Fire Station 2 Friday morning, a man identified himself as Daniel Barnett. When asked if he lived in Alabama or had a criminal history, he said he did not know what Clark was talking about.

Hernando does have policies against hiring convicted felons and the county does perform background checks.

"Is it possible that when dealing with two different states that sometimes information may get lost between the state lines?" Clark asked the city attorney.

Stockton responded, "Yes that is very possible."

Barnett will still be allowed to work with pay until the city's investigation is complete. In the meantime, when Clark asked the attorney general's office if a convicted felon could serve as a firefighter, a spokesperson directed him to the Mississippi Fire Personnel Minimum Standards and Certification Board's frequently asked questions.

In the FAQ it said:

Can a person convicted of a felony crime receive MSCB certification? The answer is, "No. Persons convicted of a felony may not be certified by the Board. However, candidates who believe there may be special or extenuating circumstances, may petition the Board for reconsideration."

Stockton said the City of Hernando will take appropriate action once its investigation is complete.

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