Names in the News: January 31, 2021

This bi-weekly series is dedicated to the latest promotions and other news within the fire service.

RODERICK SMITH was appointed as the new chief of the Atlanta (GA) Fire Rescue Department (AFRD) on January 21. He takes over the position from previous chief Randall B. Slaughter, who is retiring. Smith is a 24-year veteran of the AFRD who most recently served as its deputy chief of technical services. He also has experience in structural and aircraft rescue and firefighting, technical rescue, hazardous materials, administration and personnel management, public education and relations, research and development, strategic planning, and emergency medical services.

JOSEPH W. DIXON SR. will begin serving as the new chief of Gainesville (FL) Fire Rescue (GFR) on March 15. Dixon most recently served as the chief of the Goldsboro (NC) Fire Department. He will succeed previous GFR chief Jeffery Lane, who retired in September 2020 after 30 years with the department, and Interim Chief JoAnne Rice, who was the first female chief in GFR’s history. Dixon also served as the assistant chief for the Howard County (MD) Department of Fire and Rescue from 1993 to 2018.

CHAD AUGUSTIN will take over as the new chief of the Pasadena (CA) Fire Department (PFD) on February 22. He comes to Pasadena from the Sacramento (CA) Fire Department (SFD), where he was its deputy chief. Augustin began his career with SFD as a firefighter-paramedic and rose through the ranks over a period of 20 years, serving in the areas of training, fire prevention, administration, human resources, professional standards, operations, and emergency medical services. He also has experience in hazardous materials, urban search and rescue, and large-scale emergency/disaster incident management.

ALBERT HOGAN JR. was named the new chief of Athens (AL) Fire and Rescue (AFR). Hogan Jr. arrives at the AFR by way of DeKalb County (GA) Fire and Rescue, where he worked for 23 years, most recently as its battalion chief. He takes over the position from AFR Fire Marshal James Hand, who had been serving as the department’s interim chief since May 2020.

JUSTIN SHERWOOD was named the new chief of the Bemidji (MN) Fire Department (BFD) and will begin in the position on February 28. He is an 18-year fire service veteran who began his career as a dorm firefighter while attending Bemidji State University. Prior to his appointment as BFD’s chief, he served as its captain and oversaw fire prevention education work. Sherwood has also served as a fire service and CPR instructor at Northwest Technical College.

To feature yourself or a fellow member in “Names in the News,” please send an e-mail with the information (60-100 words) and a high-resolution photo of the member with the subject line “NITN” to


Names in the News: January 18, 2021

Names in the News: January 3, 2021

Names in the News: December 20, 2020

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