District chiefs named in St. John

Published 11:45 pm Friday, July 25, 2014

From staff reports

LAPLACE — Three new district chiefs will help protect life and property in St. John the Baptist Parish.

James Allen, Bobby Hamilton and Mel Perret Jr. were recently promoted from firefighters/operators to district chiefs to provide better management and quicker response to incidents throughout the parish.

Parish President Natalie Robottom approved the change in structure based on recommendations from the Office of Fire Services, volunteer fire departments and the President’s Advisory Committee for Public Safety. 

 In addition to employing a Chief of Operations to oversee fire safety and management, these new positions will help to align the Department’s focus on its core responsibilities and competencies — the protection of life and property.

“This change in organizational structure was the result of several years of meetings and planning between all fire departments and fire service personnel,” Robottom said. “Ultimately, our residents are safer when firefighters can respond quickly and provide better coverage for the entire parish.”

These are the first promotions made to the position since 2006 and the result of a collaborative effort across fire departments. Prior to these changes, the three district chiefs rotated shifts and covered the entire parish while on duty.

All district chiefs will be directed from the St. Andrews Fire Station in LaPlace and the Historic West Fire Station in Garyville.

The new district chiefs were promoted from within the department in accordance with Fire Civil Service Rules. Their previous positions were filled with three new firefighters/operators.  

District chiefs are responsible for supervising day-to-day operations of the Office of Fire Services on the shift level, as well as managing emergency incidents.

“These promotions permit for staffing of one additional District Chief per shift, which allows us to provide a better service to the citizens of St. John Parish,” said Cain Dufrene, chief of operations for the Office of Fire Services.  

A combination of funds from fire department budgets will pay for the new positions. 

This was made possible through more than $250,000 in savings over the past two years.