New Tallahassee Fire Chief Sworn In

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 30, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - It took nearly a year, but a new fire chief is now leading the Tallahassee Fire Department.

Jerome Gaines is now the chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department. He was sworn in Monday morning at City Hall.

Gaines got emotional while giving his comments during the ceremony, when he said, "A special thanks to my wife for allowing me to pursue my dream as a fire chief."

That dream was more than 30 years in the making.

Gaines was sworn in as a firefighter with the Fort Wayne, Indiana Fire Department in 1983 and had several promotions over the years. Most recently, he was appointed to Assistant Chief of Operations, where he oversaw the daily activities of more than 300 firefighters.

Now, as Tallahassee Fire Chief he will be responsible for about 280 employees and maintain a yearly budget of $33 million.

Gaines says, "The ideas that I have are to make it safer for the members of the department, and make it better for the community."

Tallahassee's first female fire chief, Cindy Dick, retired July 31st. While it's said that things were business as usual over the past 11 months, firefighters say they're happy to finally get someone permanent at the helm.

Firefighter and paramedic, Luther McClellan, says, "It gives the department direction now, and bring the pride back and morale up and help us get out there and support the community and protect them the best way we can."

Gaines says, Today, is the celebration, tomorrow, the work to build for the future begins."

Gaines' starting salary is set at $110,000. He and his wife Denice have three daughters, a son, and seven grandchildren.

Press Release: City of Tallahassee

June 30, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- City Manager Anita Favors Thompson joined other City and local officials this morning for the official swearing-in ceremony of Jerome Gaines as the Chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department.

The ceremony took place at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

Prior to his appointment as the Chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department, Gaines worked for more than 30 years with the Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) in Fort Wayne, Ind. There, Gaines served as Assistant Chief over the Operations Division.

Some highlights of his career include a focus on employee development and training; demonstrated leadership abilities as Section Chief, helping to oversee FWFD's 18 fire stations and more than 350 employees; and efforts to improve area services through mutual aid with other agencies and the implementation of a computer-aided dispatching system to reduce response times.

Gaines earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. He has also graduated from the Allen County, Ind., Policy Academy; National Fire Academy Arson Investigation Program; and National Fire Academy Chief Officer Leadership Program.

As the Fire Chief, Gaines will be responsible for approximately 280 employees and maintain an annual budget of $33 million. He will report directly to Dee Crumpler, Assistant City Manager of Safety and Neighborhood Services.

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