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Ralph Terrazas Named First Latino LAFD Chief

LOS ANGELES ( — The City Council Friday unanimously approved Ralph Terrazas as the new chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

KCAL9's Art Barron reports on Terrazas' plan to create more jobs and higher salaries for more than 3,000 people that are employed within the department.

Terrazas said he wants to bring stability and reform to the department, but realizes that this will take time.

"Well, the first piece is that we are hiring because of the mayor's innovative team, we're expediting the process," Terrazas said.

The 31-year LAFD veteran was nominated by Mayor Eric Garcetti in July after a months-long nationwide search. He is the first Latino fire chief in the department's history.

Ralph Terrazas takes oah
(credit: Art Barron/CBS)

"I told so many firefighters who I spoke to as I went from fire house to fire house over the last couple of years that we're going to stabilize this department," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Born in Long Beach, Terrazas patented a tool that assisted with the control of brush fires and also took charge to oversee the construction of 19 fire stations, officials said.

In a statement to the council, members of the department and the public, Terrazas said he will be dedicating his efforts toward "transforming your LAFD into a metrics-driven, technology-focused, community-focused organization that is reflective of the communities that we serve."

Terrazas, 54, will turn over a plan to revamp department management and the recruitment process as well as new ways to reduce response times.

His salary will be $292,424 a year, according to the mayor's office.

Former Fire Chief Brian Cummings announced his retirement last October.


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