Los Angeles County Fire Department announces key leadership appointments

November 24, 2023
LAFD Los Angeles Fire Department

The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) has recently elevated two of its seasoned members to the positions of Deputy Fire Chiefs.

The appointments of Robert L. Harris and Albert T. Yanagisawa, as announced on November 7, 2023, mark a significant milestone in the department’s leadership.

Chief Robert L. Harris: Three decades of fire service excellence

Chief Harris’ journey with the LACoFD began in 1992.

His impressive 31-year tenure with the department, coupled with a total of 37 years in the fire service, reflects a career replete with contributions and advancements.

Harris has been a pivotal figure in various capacities including Deputy Fire Chief of the Training and Emergency Medical Services Bureau, Incident Commander, California Task Force 2 Commander, and Technical Operations Battalion Chief for global disasters.

His leadership extends beyond operational roles, notably in the LACoFD Explorer Program and initiatives focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In addition to his professional roles, Chief Harris has been an active community member.

He served as President and Executive Board Member of the Los Angeles County Stentorians.

Academically, Harris is a graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute at Dillard University and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration from Columbia University.

His personal life reflects his commitment to mentorship, as he actively guides individuals aspiring to careers in the fire service.

Chief Albert T. Yanagisawa: A diverse and impactful career

Chief Yanagisawa’s 23-year tenure with the LACoFD is preceded by 16 years in the private sector, bringing a comprehensive perspective to his role.

His promotion to Deputy Fire Chief of the Prevention Services Bureau is a testament to his diverse background in fire prevention, driver training, incident command system training, wellness fitness, and peer support.

Yanagisawa is deeply involved in various committees and associations, including his role as founder and President of the LACoFD Asian Pacific Islander Association.

He also contributes as an Incident Commander trainee for Incident Management Team 3, Chair of the National Fire Protection Association Committee for firefighter respiratory protection, and Co-Chair of both the LACoFD Innovation Steering Committee and Uniform Committee.

His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Fire and Emergency Management from Purdue Global University.

In his personal life, Chief Yanagisawa enjoys aviation, boating, and mentoring, underscoring his dedication to community engagement.

FSJA Comment

The appointments of Chief Harris and Chief Yanagisawa are not just routine promotions within the LACoFD.

They represent the culmination of years of dedicated service, expertise, and leadership in various challenging roles.

Their diverse experiences and commitment to excellence in fire service, training, emergency medical services, and fire prevention set a high standard for future leaders in fire and safety management.

These appointments reflect the LACoFD’s commitment to diversifying its leadership and recognizing talent from within its ranks.

The elevation of these two distinguished officers is a significant development in the fire and safety community, signaling a continuous evolution and dedication to excellence in public safety.

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