Fayette County Firefighter Promoted After Felony Conviction

News Channel 3 uncovered a volunteer firefighter in Fayette County is still on the job and even got promoted after he admitted to shooting at resort workers.

Robert Bates, who many know as Bob, is listed on the Piperton Fire Department’s website as Battalion chief. He’s third in command.

But court documents obtained by News Channel 3 show police arrested him at a resort in Arizona in 2005.

Investigators there say he shot at four workers.

Those same records show he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct with a weapon a year later.

He got 150 days in jail and three years probation.

He even got more time tacked on for violating his probation, but that didn’t stop Piperton Fire Department from promoting him.

While Piperton Fire Department Chief Reed Bullock’s car sits outside, he did not want to come out and speak with News Channel 3.

We spoke with him on the phone. He says he does not know about Bates’ past even though he’s been chief since 2006.

Bullock did not have any comment, and did not ask for a copy of the court records.

Late Wednesday, Bates emailed News Channel 3.

He claims he told the prior fire chief about the arrest and plea and even offered to resign, but that chief let him stay on.

Bates says it’s because he could still help the community.

While this all happened about eight years ago, this is the first a lot of people in the small town are hearing about it including one county commissioner.

“I would think the city leadership would want to know about it and certainly look into it and get their advice from their city attorney,” says Fayette County Commissioner Terry Leggett.

“No it’s not OK. I believe in what’s right, what’s good and what’s Godly. That’s the way it ought to be,” one resident said.

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