LA Mayor Nominates First Woman Fire Chief

By Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin
January 18, 2022Updated: January 19, 2022

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Jan. 18 the nomination of the first woman to lead the LA Fire Department (LAFD) in the city’s history.

If confirmed by the city council, Kristin Crowley will become the city’s 19th fire chief.

A 22-year veteran of the department, Crowley now serves as LAFD’s acting chief deputy and first female fire marshal.

Crowley is also the program director for the department’s youth development program and has helped 1,000 high school students continue their education, according to a written statement by the mayor.

“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,” Crowley said during the announcement outside the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center.

“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.”

Garcetti commended the newly nominated fire chief.

“I look for who’s best, not just who makes history, because the protection of the city, first and foremost, has to go to the human being who is best prepared to lead,” Garcetti said.

The mayor was joined during the announcement by City Council President Nury Martinez, who said she was proud to be there on the momentous occasion.

“For the first time in its almost 136 years, the city’s fire department will be led by a woman,” Martinez said.

Martinez said Crowley is known “as someone who works hard and goes above and beyond what she’s expected to do. She looks at a challenge and says ‘I’m going to do that. I’m going to do that and more. Just watch me.”‘

LA Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas announced his retirement after 38 years of service to the LAFD. His last day is set for March 26.

Terrazas said on Jan. 18 that Crowley “is an exemplary leader and has a broad base of experience that will serve the department well.”

“Chief Crowley has been successful at every position, and I expect her success to continue as the next fire chief.”

Crowley took the firefighters’ exam in 1998 and placed among the top 50 scores out of 16,000 applicants, according to the department. During her 22 years at the department, she rose through the ranks as firefighter, firefighter paramedic, engineer, fire inspector, captain I, captain II, battalion chief, assistant chief, fire marshal, and deputy chief.

As deputy chief, Crowley helped develop a five-year strategic plan aimed at fostering a culture within the department that is more open to change, according to the mayor’s office. She will build on this effort, if confirmed as chief, to deepen existing efforts and create new ways to foster equity and inclusion within the department, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

“If confirmed as your new fire chief, I will be fully committed to leading and inspiring our tremendous department into an exciting future that is filled with new opportunities to grow, to innovate, and to empower,” Crowley said.

City News Service contributed to this report.