San Diego initiates nationwide search for new Fire Chief

March 19, 2024

City of San Diego seeks new fire chief with community involvement

The City of San Diego has commenced a comprehensive nationwide search for a new Chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD), incorporating a public survey and community forums to collect feedback from its residents.

This initiative follows the announcement of Chief Colin Stowell’s retirement, set for August 2024, after dedicating 34 years of service to the city and the department since joining in 1988.

Mayor Todd Gloria praised Chief Stowell’s commitment to San Diego: “Chief Colin Stowell’s dedication and service to the City has been invaluable, and I wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement,” he said.

“As we search for a new Fire Chief, we’ll be gathering community input to ensure we find candidates who reflect the values and priorities of our City.

I encourage all San Diegans to participate and help us identify an effective leader who’ll work hard to continue to keep San Diegans safe.”

Community input to shape selection process

The city has outlined plans for two community meetings in early April, offering San Diegans a platform to express their views on the attributes and qualities they seek in the forthcoming Fire Chief.

Additionally, an online survey is accessible for those who cannot attend the meetings in person.

The forums are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, April 3, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 6401 Skyline Dr.
  • Thursday, April 4, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Kearny Mesa Recreation Center, 3170 Armstrong St.

The city has encouraged interested community members to RSVP for the meetings, although it is not a prerequisite for attendance.

Provisions for language interpretation and accessibility services will be made available upon request during these gatherings.

A rigorous selection process awaits candidates

The search for the new Fire Chief will include a series of interviews, culminating in a stakeholder interview led by a panel of community leaders nominated by City Council members and Mayor Gloria.

The selection process is expected to conclude in June 2024, with the final interviews slated for May.

This structured approach aims to ensure that the new Fire Chief aligns with the community’s expectations and continues the legacy of committed service to San Diego’s safety and wellbeing.

FSJA Comment

The City of San Diego‘s initiative to involve the community in the selection of a new Fire Chief marks a commendable step towards transparent governance and civic engagement.

By soliciting input from residents, the city ensures that the leadership of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department resonates with the values and priorities of the people it serves.

The community’s involvement in this decision-making process highlights the city’s commitment to safety and inclusivity, reinforcing the bond between the fire-rescue services and the public they protect.

Read Next

Subscribe Now