Kristin Crowley has been confirmed as the new Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Chief, making her the first female fire chief in Los Angeles.

Crowley, who is currently serving as LAFD deputy chief, will take the reins from current Chief Ralph Terrazas, who announced his plans to retire this year.

The Los Angeles City Council approved Crowley on Tuesday after being nominated on January 18, with a start date set for March 26.

“I think it’s so fitting for this nomination to come to council today, on the first day of Women’s History Month,” L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez said on Tuesday. “Our city’s fire department has gone 136 years without a woman at its highest office and today we’re going to finally be able to turn the page.”

With more than 15 years in the LAFD, Crowley has held multiple leadership positions at different fire stations, before becoming LAFD’s first female fire marshall in 2016, as well as deputy chief the following year.

“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 said during Tuesday’s L.A. City Council meeting. “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.”

The change in leadership comes on the heels of allegations of racism and sexism within the fire department. Several local organizations, including the Los Angeles Women in the Fire Service (LAWFS), called out the LAFD for “unsafe” work environments for minorities.

“You have to change the culture before the organization gets better, and since the chief is unwilling to change the culture, it’s time for the chief to go,” Kris Larson, President of LAWFS, said in an October 2021 press conference related to allegations of harassment within the department. At the time, Chief Terrazas worked with LAWFS on changes to department guidelines.

As Crowley spoke to the council on Tuesday, she noted that she would prioritize and demand a work environment “free of harassment, discrimination and hazing,” as well as making sure diversity is “celebrated and valued.”

“In addition to becoming the first woman and first openly LGBTQ+ chief to lead the department, Chief Crowley is a remarkable leader and firefighter in her own right,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said in a statement Tuesday. “She represents the best of the best, and all Angelenos should feel proud and excited to call Kristin Crowley the Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.”

LA Weekly