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Mayor Appoints Interim Fire Chief

Long time public servant will lead Albuquerque Fire Department

December 24, 2013

Albuquerque- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry appointed the City’s new Interim Fire Chief. With Fire Chief James Breen retiring at the end of the month, Mayor Berry has announced Deputy Chief David Downey, will be the department’s Interim Chief. Downey is a career public servant; he has been with AFD for 20 years. While serving as AFD’s Deputy Chief; he was in charge of all fire department operations, the emergency response division, along with all health and safety programs. As Deputy Chief one of his main priorities was to improve incident command and radio communications via the department’s professional development program. During his time as Deputy Chief, Downey also completed the prestigious National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. Over the coming months the Mayor will determine the process for selecting a new permanent Chief. Downey’s salary will be $121,000.

Mayor Berry selected him for the top spot because of his impressive history in the Department, "over the past few years I’ve been able to observe his dedication to this department and to this city," said Mayor Berry. "I’m proud to name him our Interim Chief and I look forward to working with him to continue generating innovative public safety solutions for our city."

"The Albuquerque Fire Department is very progressive, I want keep our department moving forward," said Interim Chief Downey. He expanded, that his priorities will be, "continuing the expansion of advanced life support emergency medical services, completing the work necessary for improving internal systems, and ensuring our firefighters are trained and equipped so that their safety and services to the community are maximized."

Chief James Breen has been with Albuquerque Fire Department for over 23 years and has been the Fire Chief since December 2009.  During his tenure as Fire Chief, Breen instituted many reforms that transformed AFD into a premiere emergency response agency.  Programs like:  PIIP (Public Inebriate Intervention Program), Community Paramedics, and an Automatic Aid Agreement we’re all conceived during the Mayor’s first term and while Breen served as Chief. The department also has more firefighters than when the Mayor was first sworn into office in December 2009.

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