Akron, Ohio, December 1, 2016 — Today Mayor Dan Horrigan announced his selection of Clarence I. Tucker to serve as Akron's next Fire Chief. This announcement comes after a months-long competitive selection process and several rounds of interviews. Tucker currently serves as a District Fire Chief, where he manages the City's Fire Prevention Bureau, which oversees fire inspection, public education, and arson units. Mayor Horrigan administered the oath of office to Tucker this morning at Akron Fire Station No. 7 on Tallmadge Avenue—the firehouse where Tucker was first stationed when he joined the Department nearly three decades ago.
Tucker will be the City's 19th Fire Chief and the second African American to hold this top post in the 180 year history of the Department. Charles R. Gladman served as the City's first African American Fire Chief from 1997 to 2007. Tucker's promotion was prompted by the retirement of Chief Edward Hiltbrand in September of this year. Retired Akron Fire Chief Larry Bunner temporarily returned to the City to serve as Interim Chief while the Mayor selected a permanent successor.
Clarence Tucker will enter the position with 28 years of dedicated service and experience with the Akron Fire Department. He will lead a Department of 326 uniform personnel and 24 support personnel beginning Monday, December 5, 2016.
Tucker joined the Akron Fire Department on September 12, 1988 as a firefighter/medic. He was promoted to the position of Lieutenant in 2000, Captain in 2005, and officially promoted to District Chief in 2015 (having served provisionally prior to that). Among many other leadership roles he has undertaken during his career, Tucker has managed the City's hazardous materials response team and chaired the Summit County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
In 2005, Tucker completed a five-year program of Executive Fire Service Management training from the Executive Development Institute through the International Institute of Black Professional Firefighters. He went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Malone University in 2009, and this month he completed the program to receive his Executive Fire Officer certification from the National Fire Academy, where he was exposed to a cutting-edge curriculum designed to teach leading fire officers how to address difficult and unique challenges facing modern communities.
"I was fortunate to be presented with several highly qualified and exemplary public servants as candidates for this position," Mayor Horrigan said of his selection. "In Clarence, I found an immensely prepared and well-respected leader with an enormous heart for this community."
"My vision for the future of the Akron Fire Department is to forge new, innovative partnerships, develop creative solutions to deep-rooted challenges like the opiate epidemic, and to continue our honored tradition of running a prepared, professional, and compassionate Fire Department. I have full confidence that Clarence will bring strong, steady leadership and a commitment to excellent customer service and patient care to this position."
Of his promotion Tucker said, "It is my honor and privilege to continue my service to this City and this Department as Fire Chief. I join the Mayor in thanking all of the hardworking men and women of this Department for everything they do, both on the front lines and behind the scenes, every day, to keep us safe. I look forward to working together to continuously improve our performance and our service to the citizens of Akron."