From the Office of the Fire Chief...
FIRE CHIEF DOUGLAS L. BARRY
STATE OF THE DEPARTMENT ADDRESS
April 24, 2007
Fire Chief Douglas L. Barry’s Statement
"A little more than 100 days ago, I proudly accepted the position of Fire Chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
I accepted the position because I know that this Department is strengthened by its diversity and can operate to its fullest potential in a work environment free from discrimination and harassment.
Repeatedly, the LAFD has been unjustly characterized as an organization fraught with widespread insensitivity amongst its members.
The reality is that the overwhelming majority of our members are extremely hard working and dedicated individuals who faithfully and professionally serve the communities of Los Angeles, as well as treat each other appropriately and with a sense of family.
Recent publicized cases have highlighted incidents where our human relations efforts can be improved. And we are working aggressively to do just that.
However, these cases are representative of the actions of a small percentage of our members and should not be used to overshadow or minimize the outstanding efforts of the rest of the Department members.
The Los Angeles Fire Department is nationally recognized and highly regarded as a fire service organization and I am proud of the men and women of this Department who work so tirelessly to ensure public safety
Measurement of LAFD During First 100 Days of Administration
Last year, the City Controller and Personnel Department provided comprehensive recommendations for improvements in several areas of the Department.
We view our addressing of the issues identified in the recommendations as an opportunity to strengthen our workforce and improve the level of leadership within the organization.
With that in mind, the Department in collaboration with the Fire Commission and employee organizations has been working very diligently towards developing a strategy to ensure the most efficient implementation of these recommendations
As part of the initial steps of reform, I have been personally visiting every fire station and other work locations to outline to the members of the Department my expectations of behavior and to foster a partnership with them in addressing our organizational challenges
Coinciding with these discussions, I have been concentrating on conducting face-to-face meetings with the Department’s officers, both Captains and Chiefs to reinforce the leadership roles and responsibilities each of us must assume.
Additionally, a review of the Department’s policies and procedures in regards to human relations, work environment and discipline has been conducted to identify areas needing to be strengthened.
As we continue to move forward with reforms, a new vision statement has been developed. One that speaks to our responsibilities to the public and to each other.
Additionally, we have established guiding principles that include that include teamwork and ethical behavior to further define our organizational approach.
In many meeting with members of the Department, I have sensed a renewed optimism and desire to work together towards the betterment of the Department in all areas of our responsibilities.
Goals and Vision for LAFD Future
With the vision statement as our guide, new ideas and initiatives are being implemented, they include: continuing the implementation of the Audit Action Plan by providing enhanced human relations and leadership training, as well as restructuring and improving our disciplinary system.
These efforts will result in a work environment, which reflects a higher level of productivity and professionalism and will clearly define expectations and outcomes.
New Initiatives for Organizational Growth
In regards to other areas of the Department, we are creating innovative means of strengthening our fire prevention bureau and its role in public safety
And we are continuing to improve our emergency response capabilities, as well as focusing on much needed attention and resources towards our aging infrastructure.
In looking towards out future, we will developing a five-year strategic plan that will provide clear direction of our future efforts towards providing more responsive emergency medical capabilities and disaster planning while continuing to focus on our work environment
Community Focus for Improving Public Safety
However, despite all of our plans and reforms, we recognize our continued success as an organization relies upon our partnership with the communities of Los Angeles
We share and strive with the community the common goal of a safe and healthy Los Angels
To that end, we will continue to reach out to the community with our various community outreach programs such as our; Community Emergency Response Team Program, youth involvement programs, and we will soon be implementing a Fire Fatality Reduction Program to lessen the occurrence of accidental fatal fires.
With the continued community support and the commitment demonstrated by the Mayor, City Council and Fire Commission, The LAFD can realize the collective goal of bringing about the necessary reforms that we need and desire, both now and into the future."
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Battalion Chief Kwame Cooper
Community Liaison Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department