Kristin Crowley sworn in as LAFD's first openly-gay, female chief

Kristin Crowley was sworn in as chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department Friday, making her the first woman and openly gay person to lead the department.

Crowley was sworn in as the department's 19th fire chief by City Clerk Holly Wolcott at City Hall Friday afternoon, alongside her wife Hollyn Bullock -- who served the Los Angeles Fire Department for 28 years before retiring about three years ago -- and children Clarissa, 15, Maddie, 13 and Grayce, 11.

Mayor Eric Garcetti nominated Crowley on Jan. 18, and her appointment was unanimously confirmed by the City Council on March 1.

"Our city's fire department has gone 136 years without a woman in its highest office and today we're going to finally be able to turn the page," Martinez said before the vote.

Martinez added that Crowley "made a name for herself in the department as a strong leader, a hard worker and someone who does not shy away from a challenge."

Before being appointed fire chief, Crowley had already made history within the LAFD when she became the city's first female fire marshal in 2016.

"I'm truly honored to be considered the nominee for the next fire chief of the Los Angeles city fire department and I am humbled and proud to have earned the opportunity to represent each and every one of our 3,779-strong civilian and sworn personnel of our department," Crowley told council members before the City Council's confirmation vote.

Crowley took the firefighters' exam in 1998 and placed among the top 50 scores out of 16,000 applicants, according to the department. During her 22 years at the LAFD, she rose through the ranks as firefighter, firefighter paramedic, engineer, fire inspector, captain I, captain II, battalion chief, assistant chief, fire marshal and deputy chief.


"Throughout her distinguished career, Kristin Crowley has proven her brilliance, determination and bravery on the job again and again," Garcetti said in announcing Crowley's nomination on Jan. 18. "She's also shown this city her heart, with her tireless commitment to helping students access life- changing educational opportunities. There is no one better equipped to lead the LAFD at this moment than Kristin. She's ready to make history, and I'm proud to nominate her as the department's next chief."

As deputy chief, Crowley helped develop a five-year strategic plan aimed at fostering a culture within the department that is more open to change, according to the mayor's office. She said she will build on that effort to deepen existing efforts and create new ways to foster equity and inclusion within the department, the mayor's office added.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrated her appointment as the first fire chief to be an open member of the LGBTQ community.

"Crowley now joins a handful of pioneering LGBTQ fire chiefs nationwide who are out and proud, and we salute her for being an LGBTQ role model who has been making a positive contribution to our city," the center said.

Terrazas, who became the department's first Latino chief when appointed in 2014, previously announced his intention to retire this year.

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"It was a privilege to serve as the fire chief of this world-class department," he said on Jan. 18. "For nearly eight years, we made considerable strides in technology, implemented innovative ways to respond to emergencies, and became a model for other agencies."

Terrazas added that Crowley "is an exemplary leader and has a broad base of experience that will serve the department well ... Chief Crowley has been successful at every position and I expect her success to continue as the next fire chief."

Crowley will lead an agency that has recently come under fire for allegations of a culture of racism, sexism, retaliation and abuse endured by women at the department.

On March 1, Crowley cited improving the work environment among her priorities as chief.

"As the next fire chief, my priorities will be to ensure the LAFD stands ready and remains operationally efficient to serve our communities and this great city; that we enhance and support our firefighters' safety, health and overall well-being; and that we promote and demand a work environment that is free of harassment, discrimination and hazing," she told council members.

"Our efforts will be maximized by making sure diversity is celebrated and valued, and that equity and inclusion are intertwined into every policy, procedure and practice," she added.

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