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Deputy fire chief retires after Facebook post controversy

Jeff Dulin, former deputy chief of the Charlotte Fire Department, resigned Friday.
Jeff Dulin, former deputy chief of the Charlotte Fire Department, resigned Friday.

The Charlotte Fire Department deputy chief who shared an image on his Facebook page that City Manager Ron Carlee found “highly offensive” abruptly retired Friday.

In a statement, fire Chief Jon Hannan said Jeff Dulin, a 32-year department veteran who oversaw emergency management and homeland security for the city and county, retired effective 5 p.m. Friday.

“I want to thank Deputy Chief Dulin for his 32 years of service to Charlotte and the Charlotte Fire Department,” Hannan said in a news release. “From fighting fires to his dedication, to emergency management and homeland security, he has served the city and its citizens well, especially in his leading role in planning for the Democratic National Convention.”

Earlier this month, Dulin, one of four deputy chiefs, shared an image on his private Facebook page of former Olympian Bruce Jenner that is making the rounds on social media.

The image shows a younger Jenner on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box in 1976, the year he won the gold medal in the Summer Olympics decathlon. Next to it is a Photoshopped image of Jenner – believed to be transitioning to a woman – as he looks today on a box of Froot Loops cereal.

Last week, Carlee said he found the image “highly offensive and inappropriate.” Friday, Carlee declined to comment on the Dulin news.

Hannan wouldn’t discuss the matter beyond the release, and Dulin could not be reached.

His posting came three months after the city said it fired Fire Department investigator Crystal Eschert for posting a message on her Facebook page questioning whether civil rights leaders and the White House would be as focused on a Ferguson, Mo., police shooting if the teenage victim had been white.

Eschert said she was fired because she complained to a City Council member about the quality of renovations at a Fire Department building on North Graham Street.

Dulin joined the department in 1983 and had been a deputy chief since 2002. In the early 1990s, he helped develop the department’s swift water response training that he took around the state. Ultimately, he became a member of the state’s Emergency Reponse Team. He was a key planner for the DNC in Charlotte.

Before his retirement, he had been overseeing training, the communications center, special operations, along with emergency management and homeland security. Reporter Ely Portillo contributed.

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