Changing of the Chief
LAFD: On Jan. 18, Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez announced that Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas will retire after nearly 40 years of City service, and that Kristin Crowley, a top deputy with 25 years of City service, has been nominated as its next Chief. At press time, she awaits confirmation by the City Council. Her current title is Acting Administrative Operations Chief Deputy and Fire Marshal. If confirmed, she will be the City’s 19th Fire Chief and the first woman to ever lead the LAFD.
“Throughout her distinguished career, Kristin Crowley has proven her brilliance, determination and bravery on the job again and again,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. “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.”
Crowley is a 22-year veteran of the LAFD who has moved seamlessly through the ranks, proving her credibility and character along the way. She made history as the Department’s first female Fire Marshal and is the second woman to earn the rank of Chief Deputy.
Chief Deputy Crowley, who serves as program director for the LAFD’s youth development program, has played a key role in ensuring that more than 1,000 LAUSD high school students continue in their education.
In her current role, she helped to develop a five-year strategic plan to identify areas of growth within the Department and foster culture more open to change. As Chief, she plans to work to both deepen existing efforts and create new mechanisms to foster equity and inclusion in the Department.
“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to be the next Fire Chief of the Los Angeles City Fire Dept. and to lead the Department into the future,” Crowley said in a statement. “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 wellbeing, 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.”
Chief Terrazas, who was sworn in as L.A.’s Fire Chief in 2014, was the first Latino to serve in that role. A 39-year veteran of the Department, Chief Terrazas helped steer the City through some of its greatest challenges, and brought about meaningful advancements and innovations within the Fire Department.
Early in his time leading LAFD, Chief Terrazas oversaw the rebuilding of the Department, which had stopped hiring new firefighters for five years as a result of the Great Recession. In 2015, he successfully reorganized the Department into four bureaus – the first restructuring of LAFD in 50 years, which helped to enhance accountability and improve service delivery.
Chief Terrazas also launched and implemented a variety of innovative initiatives, including Advanced Provider Response Units, Alternate Destination Response Units, and Fast Response Vehicles, efforts that enable firefighters to go beyond simply bringing patients to emergency rooms. Chief Terrazas has also made diversity a top priority – for the first time in department history, 51.4 percent of firefighters are now people of color. Since 2014, the Department has maintained a steady increase in the number of hired sworn women at LAFD. Of the current sworn force, more than half of those who are currently employed were hired on in the last eight years, and nearly 10 percent were brought on in 2021.
Under his leadership, the LAFD supervised the City’s free public COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs, which has administered nearly 4.86 million tests and approximately 1.43 million vaccinations to date. The City of L.A.’s testing effort was the nation’s largest municipal testing program and tested more than 40,000 Angelenos per day at its peak.
“It was a privilege to serve as the Fire Chief of this world-class Department,” said Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas. “For nearly eight years, we made considerable strides in technology, implemented innovative ways to respond to emergencies, and became a model for other agencies. Chief Crowley is an exemplary leader and has been successful at every position, and I expect her success to continue as the next Fire Chief.”
The Club congratulates Chief Terrazas on a noteworthy career, and congratulates Chief Crowley in anticipation of her confirmation.