Incoming LAFD chief on her historic appointment: ‘Now it’s about action’
By LA Stories Staff Downtown Los Angeles
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Feb. 28, 2022
With the announcement of Chief Ralph Terrazas’ retirement, the Los Angeles Fire Department is facing a history-making shift.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has nominated Deputy Chief Kristin Crowley to serve as the first female head of the LAFD.
In this episode of “LA Stories,” Crowley opens up to host Giselle Fernandez about taking on the role and the impact she hopes to have on the department. With accusations of sexism and racial bias within the force, she says she is ready to take on the challenge of implementing big changes to address these issues.
“I care,” she said. “And we will continue to care and create the space for everybody, men and women within this organization, to come to work, to feel supported, to feel included and work together as a team. Now it’s about action. It’s not about words.”
Crowley is the highest ranking woman in the LAFD and has held nearly every position within the department. She has a habit of creating many career firsts: She was the first female fire marshal of the LAFD and will be the first paramedic to hold the role of fire chief.
Growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Crowley was a star athlete, crediting her competitive spirit and athletic ability for giving her the drive to move through the ranks of the department.
“I think being an athlete, I’m not gonna give up. You’re not gonna break me, all of those pieces, I think brought me to this day today.”
The significance of taking on the chief role is not lost on Crowley, who knows the impact that role models can have. She spent much of her career growing the LAFD Youth Development program, where she mentored high school students who have now entered the force.
As a wife, mother and member of the LGBTQ community, Crowley knows young people will look up to her as she becomes the top member of the department. She hopes her legacy will live on long after she has retired.
“I think that it’s just, everybody’s ready. They’re ready for perhaps a new style. They’re ready for perhaps a new vision,” she said. “I understand what that means. Meaning yes, I’ll set the vision, and I’m gonna let my people get there and support them.”