Milwaukee Chief Announces Retirement

Chief Douglas A. Holton announced he will retire from the Milwaukee (WI) Fire Department after 32 years of firefighting service, effective Nov. 28, 2009.

Chief Holton joined the Milwaukee Fire Department on January 9, 1978. He successfully advanced through the ranks of the Milwaukee Fire Department over a 25-year period, serving as Deputy Chief of Fire Operations, Deputy Chief of Instruction and Training, Deputy Chief of Construction and Maintenance, Battalion Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, and Firefighter.

In 2003, Chief Holton left the Milwaukee Fire Department to become the first African American chief of the St. Paul (MN) Fire Department. After a successful three-year stint in St. Paul, Chief Holton returned to the city of Milwaukee, where he was sworn in as the first African American chief of the Milwaukee Fire Department on June 4, 2007.

“This is a bittersweet day for both me and my family. For almost three decades the Milwaukee Fire Department has been an integral part of our lives,” said Chief Holton. “As I prepare to retire from the Milwaukee Fire Department, I would like to thank Mayor Tom Barrett, Commissioner Mike Tobin and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, the Milwaukee City Council, and the residents of Milwaukee for the opportunity to serve the city I love so much.”

“Throughout my career with the Milwaukee Fire Department, I have worked with some amazing men and women over the years,” said Chief Holton. “I will never forget their hard work, dedication, and unwavering commitment to make our great city an even better place to live.”

Although Chief Holton plans to officially retire from fire fighting, he will continue to be actively involved in educating future leaders in various public safety professions in both the city of Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin. 

On Dec. 1, Chief Holton will begin serving as the Associate Dean of Human and Protective Services at Madison Area Technical College, and has one of the largest fire and police training programs in the state of Wisconsin.

In this new role, Chief Holton will be responsible for overseeing academics and supervising faculty and support staff for the school’s CriminalJustice, Emergency Medical, Fire Protection, Paramedic, Human services, Early Childhood Care, and  Motorcycle Driving programs.

“I look forward to continuing my work in public safety at Madison Area Technical College,” said Chief Holton. “I believe my many years of professional experience with the Milwaukee Fire Department uniquely qualify me to help prepare young people for rewarding and fulfilling careers in public safety and public service.”

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Chief Holton is a graduate of Marquette University High School. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

An active servant of the city of Milwaukee, Chief Holton is a member of several professional associations, including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Metro Chiefs Association, the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, and the National Fire Protection Association.

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