My Choice to Lead the Los Angeles Fire Department

Reforming the fire department is vital to the safety of our families and to my back to basics agenda. When it comes to this part of city government, lives are on the line. After an exhaustive, nationwide search, I have decided that there is no better person to cut response times, improve technology, and bring reform to the Los Angeles Fire Department than Chief Ralph Terrazas.

I am appointing Chief Terrazas at a time when we have put real momentum behind reforming the Fire Department. We are instituting a data-driven, Firestat system. We
are deploying our fire engines and ambulances with the help of GPS trackers. We are hiring our first new recruits since 2009 and are doing so through a reformed system that levels the playing field so that we hire the best possible candidates.

Los Angeles is fortunate that the men and women in our firehouses are the best of the best. Now, I am looking to Chief Terrazas to be my field general in reforming the Fire Department to ensure it’s the best managed and most cutting-edge in the nation.

I want Chief Terrazas to ensure there is a culture of excellence and innovation at the Fire Department. I want to make sure that the bravery of our firefighters is backed up with the latest technology, the best tools, and the best training so that response times go down.
Chief Terrazas is a 30 year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, with 21 years as an officer including 14 years of command experience as a Chief Officer.

He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public administration and some of the accomplishments that give me confidence in his ability to lead and innovate are his current leadership in the Emergency Services Bureau where he commands 54 fire stations, which followed his creation and leadership of the professional standards division where he gained experience with ethics, reform, and labor relations.

He developed and helped pass Prop F, which was a $532 million bond to build 19 new fire stations.

He’s worked in strategic planning, and in terms of innovation and technology, Chief Terrazas has consistently throughout his career instituted data tracking and analysis systems, whether in terms of discipline, patient care, or deployment.

And get this: he holds a U.S. patent for inventing, and I’m quoting from the patent office here “a tool and method of using the tool for assisting in the control of brushfires.”

And here’s the kicker – he even has an Emmy.

In addition to our nationwide search with the help of a professional firm, I did my own due diligence. And I consistently heard from the people I talked to that he is someone who is widely respected, who has command presence, and who is the very best choice to lead the Fire Department.

And so it is with great confidence that I introduce my choice as the next Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Chief Ralph M. Terrazas.