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City of Grand Rapids names new fire chief


The City of Grand Rapids has named its new fire chief.

John Lehman will lead the Grand Rapids Fire Department. After an extensive, five-month nationwide search, including community meetings, the Fire Chief Selection Committee determined Lehman’s skills set was best suited for replacing retired Chief Laura Knapp.

The 32-year old recently retired as fire chief from the City of Aurora, Illinois with a population of roughly 200,000 residents.

Lehman has expressed his focus in Grand Rapids will be, as he puts it, “strive to maintain the fittest level of equipment and utilize the latest in technology in order to provide the high quality level of protection that the citizens of Grand Rapids deserve.”

A news release from the City of Grand Rapids says, “Lehman plans to enhance the Grand Rapids Fire Department’s community education efforts; including fire safety for older adults and their caregivers, provide bilingual fire education, focus on college fire safety and stress the importance of carbon monoxide safety. He also plans to boost transparency and continue the city’s goal of diversifying the ranks of the department, especially centering on African-American, Hispanic and female fire officers.”

Patrick Center, WGVU News.    

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.