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13 O.C. firefighters disciplined in alleged haircut hazing ritual

January 29, 2013 | 12:46 pm

The Orange County Fire Authority has disciplined 13 firefighters in connection with an alleged hazing incident in which half a dozen firefighters from Laguna Hills were spotted with strange, Mohawk-like haircuts.

The authority said it determined that the six firefighters, all on probationary status, had cut their own hair in strange styles, or had been forced to get extreme haircuts.

The hazing incident, and the haircuts, were deemed to be "unprofessional conduct," fire authorities said.

Fire managers launched their investigation in April 2012 after someone reported seeing the firefighters in uniform eating at an In-N-Out Burger with haircuts that were described as reverse mohawks.

Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion said one of the probationary firefighters sported a bright red painted head. Concepcion said the department has "grooming standards." A subsequent investigation determined that some of the firefighters had cut their own hair but in some cases the hair was chopped by colleagues.

Because of personnel laws, Concepcion said he could not describe the specifics of the discipline. All of the firefighters are still employees of the department, he added.

The matter was reviewed by prosecutors, who declined to file charges on whether the forcible chopping of hair as part of a hazing amounted to a crime.


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--Richard Winton