First Latino Chief of Los Angeles Fire Department Confirmed by City Council

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Ralph M. Terrazas was appointed by the Los Angeles City Council to be the 18th fire chief of the L.A. Fire Department on Aug. 8, 2014. (Credit: LAFD)

The Los Angeles Fire Department appointed its first Latino chief Friday since its founding in 1886.

Ralph M. Terrazas, the department’s 18th fire chief, was chosen by Mayor Eric Garcetti and confirmed by the L.A. City Council.

“I am honored and humbled to begin leading the 3,200 men and women of the LAFD as their fire chief,” Terrazas said. “It’s an exciting and challenging time to be taking the helm and together we will redouble our efforts to transform the LAFD into a metric-driven, technologically sophisticated, community-focused organization that reflects the communities we serve.”

Terrazas was a 31-year veteran of the department, where he was a chief officer for 14 years; developed the department’s Professional Standards division, which works to ensure the department’s mission was maintained; and worked on the Proposition “F” Fire Station Bond, which facilitated the construction of 19 new LAFD stations.

Most recently he managed and trained about 500 members at 54 fire stations as the assistant fire chief at the South Division’s “A” Platoon, which covers half of the city.

Terrazas, a Long Beach native, earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration and certificate in fire protection administration from San Diego State University, and a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on human resource management from California State University, Los Angeles.