Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Deputy and Fire Marshal Kristen Crowley was nominated to become the first female Chief of the LAFD by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday, replacing current Chief Ralph Terrazas.
Terrazas has been the Chief of the LAFD since 2014, following decades of fire department service since the early 1980’s. The first Latino in the position, Terrazas increased diversity in the Department following the Great Recession, but in recent years has faced growing scrutiny for not doing enough to stop sexist and racist behavior within the LAFD. Following an investigation into rampant sexist behavior within the Department last year, as well as a federal investigation into alleged racism within the department, there have been growing calls for Terrazas to resign, even within the LAFD.
Amid these issues, Terrazo announced that he would be retiring effective March 26th, opening up the LAFD Chief position.
On Tuesday, Garcetti nominated Crowley, a 22-year veteran of the department. During the press conference, Mayor Garcetti made it clear that Crowley, one of the top people within the LAFD, was not being promoted due to her gender, but due to her abilities and skill with public safety challenges.
“I look for who’s best not just who makes history,” said Garcetti on Tuesday. “Because the protection of our city first and foremost has to go to the human being who is best prepared to lead. But let me be clear, that is Kristin Crowley. And this progress is incredibly important and long overdue.
“We’re living through an unprecedented moment that has called on our Fire Department not just to protect us – but to lead us in the fight to overcome public safety challenges we’ve never faced before. At the same time, the LAFD is leading a transformative national discussion about strengthening equity and inclusion within the firefighting ranks, and we must overcome those internal challenges too. Throughout her distinguished career, Kristin Crowley has proven her brilliance, determination and bravery on the job again and again. She’s also shown this city her heart, with her tireless commitment to helping students access life-changing educational opportunities. There is no one better equipped to lead the LAFD at this moment than Kristin. She’s ready to make history, and I’m proud to nominate her as the Department’s next Chief.”
Browley Accepts Nomination
Crowley accepted the nomination and vowed to increase safety, effectiveness and diversity within the department.
“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to be the next Fire Chief of the Los Angeles City Fire Department and to lead the Department into the future,” said Crowley. “As the Fire Chief, if confirmed, I vow to take a strategic and balanced approach to ensure we meet the needs of the community we serve. We will focus our efforts on increasing our operational effectiveness, enhancing firefighter safety and well-being, and fully commit to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture within the LAFD. Thank you, Mayor Garcetti, Council President Martinez, and Chief Terrazas for entrusting me to lead and to work with the dedicated women and men of the finest department in the world.”
Garcetti and others stressed diversity and inclusiveness throughout the conference, in part to offset the current allegations against the current Chief, as well as to show how 51.4% of the force are now minorities, with the number of women joining also going up.
Many firefighters approved of Crowley becoming the new Chief on Tuesday, with many noting that many knew she would be the next LAFD Chief several years ago.
“She was a Deputy Chief, the Fire Marshall and is the top woman in the Department, of course it was going to be her,” said “Clark”, an LAFD firefighter, to the Globe on Tuesday. “If she’s chosen, she’ll be looking into a lot of those current complaints.
“For most of us, we want a chief who backs us up and gives us all we need to put out fires and rescue those in need quickly and efficiently. Bottom line is that we have to save and protect people. As long as that is number one, we’ll be fine with her.”
Crowley is due to be heard by the Los Angeles City Council in the coming weeks. If selected, she would begin her tenure as Chief beginning in late March.
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