By MARGARET SHUTTLEWORTH | Municipal News Service
Kristin Crowley will head the Los Angeles Fire Department today, being the first time a woman and an openly gay person have headed the department.
Crowley will be sworn in at 3 p.m. at City Hall along with Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who chairs the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
Garcetti appointed Crowley on January 18, and his appointment was unanimously confirmed by the City Council on March 1.
“Our city’s fire brigade has been 136 years without a woman in its highest position and today we will finally be able to turn the page,” Martinez said before the vote.
Martinez added that Crowley “has made a name for himself in the department as a strong, hardworking leader and someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge.”
Prior to her appointment as fire chief, Crowley made history within the LAFD when she became the city’s first female fire chief in 2016.
“I am truly honored to be considered the next Chief of Fire Department of the City of Los Angeles Fire Department and I am honored and proud to have had the opportunity to represent each and every one of our 3,779 civilians and sworn staff. our department, ”Crowley told board members before the City Council confirmation vote.
Crowley took the fire test in 1998 and was ranked among the top 50 scores of 16,000 candidates, according to the department. During his 22 years in the LAFD, he rose through the ranks as a firefighter, paramedic firefighter, engineer, fire inspector, captain I, captain II, battalion chief, assistant chief, fire chief, and deputy chief.
“Throughout her distinguished career, Kristin Crowley has demonstrated her brilliance, determination and courage in the work over and over again,” Garcetti said in announcing Crowley’s January 18 nomination. “She has also shown her heart to this city, with her tireless commitment to help. Students have access to life-changing educational opportunities. There is no one better equipped to lead the LAFD at this time than Kristin. She is ready to make history, and I am proud to name her as the next head of the department. ”
As deputy chief, Crowley helped develop a five-year strategic plan to foster a culture within the department that is more open to change, according to the mayor. She said she will take advantage of that effort to deepen existing efforts and create new ways to promote equity and inclusion within the department, the mayor added.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrated his appointment as the first fire chief to be an open member of the LGBTQ community.
“Crowley now joins a handful of pioneering LGBTQ firefighters across the country who are out and proud, and hails her for being an LGBTQ model who is making a positive contribution to our city,” the center said.
Terrazas, who became the department’s first Latin head when he was appointed in 2014, had previously announced his intention to retire this year.
“It was a privilege to serve as the fire chief of this world-class department,” he said on January 18th. “For almost eight years, we have made significant advances in technology, implemented innovative ways to respond to emergencies, and become a model for other agencies.”
Terrazas added that Crowley “is an exemplary leader and has a broad base of experience that will serve the department well … Chief Crowley has been successful in all positions and I hope his success continues as the next fire chief.”
Crowley will lead an agency that has recently been criticized for allegations of a culture of racism, sexism, retaliation and abuse suffered by women in the department.
On March 1, Crowley cited improving the work environment as one of her priorities as a boss.
“As the next fire chief, my priorities will be to ensure that the LAFD is prepared and continues to be operationally efficient to serve our communities and this great city; that we improve and support the safety, health and general well-being of our firefighters; and that we promote and demand a work environment free of harassment, discrimination and hacking, ”he told council members.
“Our efforts will be maximized by ensuring that diversity is celebrated and valued, and that equity and inclusion are intertwined in every policy, procedure and practice,” he added.
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