The training program kicked off last week. According to the Times Union, the Albany County Sheriff’s office has started a new program called the Inmate Fire Training program that will train low-level Albany County inmates to be volunteer firefighters.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told the Times Union that the program is being done because of a massive decline in volunteerism among local firehouses and will assist low-level offenders, such as people jailed on DWI or failure to pay child support to rejoin and aid their communities.

He also said, "I’m not sending robbers and burglars and bank robbers out there, you know, these guys are in there because they screwed up, or maybe got a DWI.”

The program is being paid for with seized drug assets and will involve no taxpayer money at all.

There are currently five inmates being trained as firefighters at the Albany County Jail. After they complete the training, they can possibly serve daytime shifts on work release and once they are free, they can either volunteer or apply to serve as paid firefighters.

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