Hartford Fire Chief Freeman To Become Next Fire Chief Of Oakland, CA

Published on April 21, 2021

HARTFORD, CONN (April 21, 2021) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin announced that Hartford Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management Reginald D. Freeman has accepted the position of Fire Chief for the Oakland Fire Department in Oakland, California, one of the fifty largest cities in the United States.  Chief Freeman, who has served as Hartford’s Fire Chief since 2016, will step down from the Hartford Fire Department in May before assuming his new position in Oakland.  Assistant Chief Rodney Barco, who has served as a Hartford firefighter for twenty-five years, will serve as Interim Fire Chief.

“Hartford has been fortunate to have one of the best fire chiefs in the nation for the last five years, and it is bittersweet to see Chief Freeman move on,” said Mayor Bronin.  “Chief Freeman has led our fire department with great distinction, and he has earned the trust and respect of all of us in city government, as well as residents across Hartford.  He has been an incredibly effective advocate for our firefighters, hiring new classes of diverse recruits, making sure we’re training our firefighters, and leading the process to make the Hartford Fire Department one of the few in the nation to be internationally accredited and hold the highest insurance rating.  Hartford will miss Chief Freeman, but we’re proud that he has earned the chance to lead a department in one of America’s biggest cities, and we wish him all the best.  Assistant Chief Barco has devoted twenty-five years to the Hartford Fire Department and our community, and I am confident he will do a great job leading the Department.”

During Chief Freeman’s tenure, the Hartford Fire Department won an $11 million federal grant to support hiring in 2017, which was the second largest federal grant in the nation at the time.  The Fire Department implemented their first professional development program, which has allowed firefighters to pursue more than 2,000 new certifications and classes.  The Department also became one of only 87 in the nation to be both internationally accredited and hold a ISO Class 1 designation.

“It has been an enormous privilege serving the residents and firefighters of Hartford over the last five years, and I will miss both very much,” said Chief Freeman.  “The men and women of the Hartford Fire Department do outstanding service for our community each and every day, and it has been a true honor to work alongside them.  We have made enormous progress over the last five years, maintaining the Hartford Fire Department’s record of excellence by investing in our firefighters, pursuing international accreditation, and depending our community engagement.  I am very grateful to Mayor Bronin for his confidence as Hartford’s Fire Chief and the opportunity to serve on his outstanding team. I know that the Hartford Fire Department is well positioned to continue its great work for the people of Hartford.”

“I am thrilled to continue my service to the City of Hartford as Interim Fire Chief upon Chief Freeman’s departure,” said Assistant Fire Chief Barco.  “On behalf of the men and women of the Hartford Fire Department, I want to thank Chief Freeman for his leadership over the last five years.  He has been a model for our entire department, and we wish him every success as he moves on to Oakland.” 

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