Detroit fire chief investigated for taking department car to bar

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WEB UPDATE (Wednesday): Deputy Chief Robert Shinske has been suspended for five days.

A Detroit fire chief is in hot water for using his department vehicle to go to the bar - and sources say it is not the first time it's happened.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones confirmed his Deputy Chief Robert Shinske is under investigation for violating the city-owned motor vehicles policy.

It all started with a post on the Southeast Michigan and Fire Weather Facebook group: "This makes me sick, I try hard to do anything I can for this department meanwhile there's Deputy Chief Shinske at a bar in the city of Dearborn while on duty."

Sources tell FOX 2 the pictures were taken around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning outside the New Place Lounge on Michigan Avenue.

No one inside recognized Shinske - but the owner says something else happening that weekend- Sacred Heart church's Oktober Fest.

FOX 2 stopped by Shinske's home which is less than a mile from where the marked fire department SUV was parked - but no one came to the door.

According to city's policy, city owned vehicles are to be used for the sole purpose of performing their assigned work duties. They are not to be taken home unless explicitly approved by department management and even if that happens, they're not to be used for personal business.

Tracy Thomas, a retired Detroit fire battalion chief weighed in.

"Those vehicles, I know, between battalion chiefs and the division heads are all used for department business, department use," he said. "And now you use it to go to a bar, to do something personal, that's inappropriate. Totally inappropriate."

Thomas says that it sends a bad message to the rank and file.

"They think they can do what they want when in actuality they can't," he said. "They have to follow the rules and regulations like everybody else. Just because he's a deputy it doesn't give him the opportunity to do something for example with that car on a personal note."

Commissioner Jones says an investigation is underway. FOX 2 reached out to the Detroit Fire Fighters Union for comment and they said:

"The Detroit Fire Fighters Association is limited contractually when representing administrative appointees. Furthermore, the DFFA will never comment on open investigations and/or members personal disciplinary matters."