JOHN BRANT took over as the new chief of the LaGrange (GA) Fire Department (LFD). Brant, previously a deputy chief, replaces Lou Dekmar, who served as both the LaGrange Police Department (LPD) and the LFD’s chief for more than a decade. Dekmar will now focus solely on the LPD. Brant has served with the LFD for 23 years. He said his main goals are keeping up the LFD’s accreditation score (the LFD received accreditation in August from the Commission of Fire Accreditation International) and reaching out to local leaders and business owners. Brant said he also wants to increase fire safety in public education at the middle and high school levels.
JOEL BAKER was selected as the new chief of the Austin (TX) Fire Department (AFD). Baker becomes the first African-American chief to lead the department’s 1,100 employees in 45 fire stations. He replaces former chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, who stepped down from the AFD in July after nine years to become the fire chief for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Baker was most recently the chief for the Atlanta (GA) Fire Rescue Department (AFRD). He began his fire career with the East Point (GA) Fire Department in 1986 and joined the AFRD two years later, eventually rising through the ranks to become that department’s chief.
BRIAN CRIMMINS was sworn in as the new chief of the Hoboken (NJ) Fire Department. Mayor Ravi Bhalla appointed Crimmins to the position. In November 2017, Crimmins, then a battalion chief, was sworn in as provisional chief, replacing Anton Peskens. Crimmins comes from a long line of Hoboken public safety officials. His grandfather, George W. Crimmins, was chief of police, and his father, George W. Crimmins II, served as business administrator and public safety director.