FDNY Insider: Black Female Firefighter Allowed To Graduate Academy Despite Failing Strength And Running Tests

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Instructors reportedly ‘fudged’ the scores of Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder, allowing her to graduate the FDNY Fire Academy despite not receiving a passing score on the Functional Skills Test and the required 1.5 mile run, The New York Post reports.

Doirin-Holder,31, was a court-mandated priority hire, who had previously failed out twice, and has been described by a former classmate as, “the most pathetic specimen of physical fitness I’ve ever seen.”

She completed the Functional Skills Test with a time of over 24 minutes, the passing time required is 17 minutes and 50 seconds. The test requires trainees to complete a course of job-related tasks such as dragging dummies all while in full gear. According to an FDNY insider Dorin-Holder failed to complete the required 1.5 mile run in under 12 minutes, finishing it in 12 minutes 6 seconds. This was after the start and finish lines were moved, shortening the course a quarter-mile.

An FDNY spokesman had no comment on the alleged score fudging and said Dorin-Holder “met all requirements for graduating from Probationary Firefighters School and was assigned to a firehouse.”

Doirin-Holder told the New York Daily News she had a cake to celebrate her new home in Engine 301.

There has been a strong push for New York’s Fire Department to increase diversity, a 2009 court order states that:

After the Court approves the list of priority hire claimants, two (2) of every five (5) individuals that the City hires for the entry-level firefighter position shall be black Claimants from the approved list of priority hire claimants. The City shall continue to hire at this 2:5 ratio until it has hired one hundred eighty-six {186) black Claimants from the approved list of priority hire claimants or until the group of black Claimants on the approved list has been exhausted, whichever occurs first.

Dorin-Holder is on that list of priority hire claimants; she first took the civil service exam in 1999 and this was her third attempt at the fire academy after failing twice. After failing in 2014, Dorin-Holder was given a cushy desk job and received $81,376 that year.

The court order came after a Department of Justice lawsuit against the city which argued two FDNY tests administered between 1999 and 2002 disproportionally failed black and hispanic applicants. The Fire Department has recently loosened rules in order to increase diversity.

While Dorin-Holder might have failed the run, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro ordered a rule change to allow trainees the option to instead show aerobic capacity while on a StairMaster.

Her graduating academy class had the most black and hispanic graduates in history, and will bring the amount women on the force to a record high. A classmate of Dorin-Holder, Sarinya Srisakul, said, “This was the academy we always wanted to see, truly about training the candidates. I am so happy for them.”