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Assistant Chief Named Interim Fire Chief

September 8, 2017

Albuquerque, N.M.- Mayor Richard J. Berry is proud to announce that Assistant Chief Gilbert “Gil” Santistevan is selected as interim fire chief. Santistevan has served with Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) for 30 years and has held significant roles including Strategic and Capital Planner, Grant Administrator, Logistics and Technical Services Divisions. He was deployed with NM Task Force 1 to the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 and the Pentagon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Santistevan was the project lead for the ISO re-evaluation that improved Albuquerque's ISO rating from 3 to 1. 

“I am grateful to Chief Downey for this honorable service to the citizens of Albuquerque.  Under his watch the Albuquerque Fire Department achieved an ISO rating of 1, making our department one of the best in the country,” said Mayor Richard Berry. “The Albuquerque community expects nothing less than excellence in public safety.  We will continue to deliver that and I know Chief Santistevan will do an exceptional job as we work towards a successful transition in the coming months.”

“Assistant Chief Gil Santistevan is a forward thinker, service minded, a values -driven leader, and family man. He has been a tremendous asset to several past Fire Chiefs and will continue to serve Albuquerque well," said Fire Chief David Downey. 

Assistant Chief Santistevan will move into the position as interim chief due to Fire Chief David Downey retiring from AFD. Chief Downey accepted a fire chief position at Hillsboro Fire Department in Oregon. Chief Downey has served Albuquerque Fire Department and our citizens with undying dedication for over 24 years.  

"Chief Downey has established a sound direction for the future of this department and leaves behind a legacy of excellence in public service," Assistant Chief Santistevan said. “For the past thirty years, I have had the distinct honor of working for one of the best fire departments in the country. It will be my focus in the next three months to ensure a thoughtful and deliberate transition and a seamless continuity of operation – from this administration to the next."

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