Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne
May 25—CHEYENNE — Cheyenne Fire Rescue’s interim chief was officially appointed to the position on a permanent basis during the City Council’s Monday evening meeting.
John Kopper was chosen in December by then Mayor-elect Patrick Collins to become interim chief of the city’s fire department, replacing former Chief Greg Hoggatt, who had served in the position since September 2017.
“Obviously, I’m really excited and humbled by the opportunity … and really excited to effect change and move the department forward collectively and collaboratively, and just make it a better place,” Kopper said Tuesday. “My primary goals are always the safety and health of the men and women of Cheyenne Fire Rescue. That will always be my focus.”
Kopper has more than 25 years of professional firefighting experience. He served as the interim fire chief for the Wyoming Air National Guard Fire Department, and before that served as assistant chief of operations, emergency management superintendent and assistant chief of training for the Wyoming Air National Guard. Kopper was also a fire instructor and curriculum developer for the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy in San Angelo, Texas, and a firefighter at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Back in December, Kopper told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that his main focuses would include professional development, mentoring and “establishing a high morale within the department.”
“The last five months, he’s just been exceptional at working to meet our goals,” Collins said of Kopper on Monday afternoon. “He just hit the ground running, and I just think he is the epitome of what a fire chief should be.”
Those goals have included putting together projects for the city’s sixth-penny sales tax ballot, figuring out how to reduce the cost of new fire stations to stretch city funds further and applying for grants for equipment the department needs, Collins said.
Just before Kopper was sworn in Monday evening, City Council member Michelle Aldrich said his appointment was “a move in the right direction” for the fire department.
“(He’s) just done an amazing job of being the interim, and I look forward to being able to see how he can move our fire department forward and working with him and his staff as we move forward,” Aldrich said.
Council member Tom Segrave said he thought Kopper was “very well educated” for the position.
“He has a tremendous amount of experience. I believe in the first roughly five months that we’ve had an opportunity to work with him, he’s been outstanding, and I will support this action,” Segrave said.
The vote among council members to appoint Kopper as chief was unanimous.
Hannah Black is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at email@example.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahcblack.
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