Firefighters from throughout the region filled City Council chambers on Oct. 3 to witness the change-of-command ceremony for new Sacramento Fire Chief Gary Loesch.

The ceremony began with a processional from the Sacramento Fire Pipes & Drums and a presentation of colors from the Sacramento Firefighters Local 522 Honor Guard.

Following an invocation from Chaplain Kevin Snider, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City Manager Howard Chan and Interim Fire Chief/Assistant City Manager Chris Conlin gave speeches welcoming Loesch to the position and to Sacramento.

 

Top left: Chief Gary Loesch (right) receives a ceremonial trumpet. Bottom (from left to right): City Manager Howard Chan, Loesch and Mayor Darrell Steinberg

Addressing the crowd, Chan cited an “extensive national search” that culminated with the hiring of Loesch, a 32-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department. During the interview process, which included the participation of an employee impression panel made up of rank-and-file firefighters, “the words that were used to describe Chief Loesch were ‘integrity, innovative, problem-solver, trustworthy and direct,'” Chan said.

“Chief Loesch has a track record of developing these innovative solutions to service delivery, and that is really going to be a key for us citywide moving forward,” Chan said.

In Philadelphia, Loesch served in various leadership roles before becoming Deputy Fire Commissioner for American’s fifth largest city. In that capacity, he oversaw more than 2700 emergency medical services and fire personnel. He also launched the City of Philadelphia’s first Command and Leadership School for fire and EMS lieutenants and captains.

Loesch is the 22nd person to lead Sacramento’s Fire Department. The change-of-guard ceremony included the traditional passing of a trumpet, once used to summon firefighters during emergencies.

“I am truly humbled and honored to be here to lead this great department through this next chapter,” Loesch said from the podium. “To the community that we serve, I want you to know that you have one of the finest fire departments in the country, and we are going to make it better. I pledge that we are going to work hard everyday and serve you with compassion, empathy, concern and courage.”

To learn more about Loesch’s background, visit Chief’s Corner.