Garcetti selects Terrazas as chief of LAFD

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Ralph Terrazas via his Facebook page.

Ralph Terrazas via his Facebook page.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas was chosen today by Mayor Eric Garcetti to become the department’s next chief.

Terrazas, a 30-year veteran of the LAFD, was chosen after a months-long nationwide search for a person to lead a department with more than 3,200 sworn firefighters and nearly 300 civilian employees. Garcetti said Terrazas would be a “field general” who has not only tactical and administrative skills, but the talent to navigate “choppy political waters.”

If confirmed by the City Council, Terrazas would oversee a plan to revamp the way the department is managed; the development of FIRESTAT, which would use data to look at trends for calls from throughout the city and determine how to deploy firefighters and reduce response times; and a new recruitment process that is being created with Rand Corp.

Terrazas said he wanted to work to overhaul the department and restore its reputation, saying the agency will be “technologically driven.”

The salary range for the position was advertised as $213,498 to $320,132 annually, according to a job bulletin put out by the recruiting company Ralph Andersen & Associates.

Former Fire Chief Brian Cummings announced his retirement last October, several months after the mayor asked all city department heads to re-apply for their jobs.

Cummings, whose tenure was marred by questions about the department’s response times, had been with the department since February 1980 and was appointed chief in September 2011 by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

James Featherstone, the general manager of the Emergency Management Department at the time, was named Cummings’ temporary replacement, and he was vying for the full-time post.

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