Mayor Garcetti, City Council President Martinez Nominate Kristin Crowley as L.A.’S Next Fire Chief as Ralph Terrazas Announces Retirement
Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez today announced that Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas will retire after nearly 40 years of distinguished service to the Los Angeles Fire Department — and that Kristin Crowley, a top deputy with a stellar 25-year track record at the Department, has been nominated as its next Chief.
If confirmed by the City Council, Crowley, currently Acting Administrative Operations Chief Deputy and Fire Marshal, will be the 19th Fire Chief, and the first woman to ever lead the LAFD.
“We’re living through an unprecedented moment that has called on our Fire Department not just to protect us – but to lead us in the fight to overcome public safety challenges we’ve never faced before. At the same time, the LAFD is leading a transformative national discussion about strengthening equity and inclusion within the firefighting ranks, and we must overcome those internal challenges too,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Throughout her distinguished career, Kristin Crowley has proven her brilliance, determination and bravery on the job again and again. 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.”
“Today is a big moment in this City. For the first time in its history the Los Angeles Fire Department will be led by a woman,” said Council President Martinez. “Chief Kristin Crowley is known by her colleagues and by this city as someone who is dedicated, hard working, and goes above and beyond what is expected of her. This announcement is not just important for the City of Los Angeles, but for girls across LA who never imagined they could one day serve as Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.”
Crowley is a 22-year veteran of the Fire Department 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 over 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 Department and to lead the Department into the future," Crowley said. "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 well-being, 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.
Under his leadership, 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 over 40,000 Angelenos per day at its peak.
“Ralph Terrazas has dedicated his life to keeping the people of Los Angeles safe. For nearly 40 years, he has served our Fire Department with bravery, determination and compassion for the Angelenos he’s sworn to protect,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I couldn’t imagine having anyone else as Fire Chief, through some of the most difficult fire and public safety challenges L.A. has ever faced. And when a once-in-a-century pandemic hit, Ralph’s leadership and bold action helped us save countless lives. I am honored to have served alongside him, and I know the mark he’s left on this city will never be forgotten.”
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% 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 8 years, and nearly 10% were brought on in 2021.
"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 a broad base of experience that will serve the Department well. She has risen through the ranks over the past 26 years and I proudly promoted her three times during my tenure because she demonstrated a commitment to advancing the Department. Chief Crowley has been successful at every position and I expect her success to continue as the next Fire Chief."