Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran has been suspended after Channel 2 Action News inquired about a faith-based book published by the fire chief and distributed to subordinates. Channel 2's Aaron Diamant has learned Cochran has been suspended for one month without pay and will be required to complete sensitivity training. In the book based on Christian values, Cochran identifies himself as Atlanta's fire chief and says his first priority as chief is to run the department "to cultivate its culture to the glory of God." He also has critical views on homosexuality, at one point equating it to bestiality. City officials say Cochran violated city policy by publishing a book without permission. "One of the most alarming things is that we did not know about the book when it was published," city spokeswoman Anne Torres said. City officials want to know how often Cochran distributed the book at work to colleagues. "We understand that he was distributing the book to other employees. We are still not sure what the circumstances surrounding them are," Torres said. Investigators are also trying to determine if the views in the book affected his leadership and management decisions. "The bottom line is that the Reed administration does not tolerate discrimination of any kind," Torres said.
Mayor Reed's office released a statement on Monday afternoon that said:
"I was surprised and disappointed to learn of this book on Friday. I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community. I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration."
Deputy Chief Joel Baker will serve as acting fire chief in Cochran's absence.