As Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Joel Baker prepares to retire, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms today thanked him for his service to the city. After three years serving as fire chief and 30 years with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, Chief Baker will retire on February 15, 2018.
“I want to thank Chief Joel Baker for his commitment and tireless service to the City of Atlanta and the men and women of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department,” Bottoms said in a press release. “Chief Baker has served the department with honor and distinction, and I wish him the best in his retirement.”
As fire chief, Baker managed the state’s largest Fire Rescue Department, including 35 fire stations and more than 1,000 sworn and civilian employees, serving an area of 132 square miles within the city limits of Atlanta, a city press release said.
“It has been an honor to serve as Fire Chief for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department,” Baker said. “As a child who was born in Grady Homes housing projects, raised in the Peoplestown community, and a proud graduate of the Atlanta Public School system, serving the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department for more than 30 years has been a privilege. I would like to thank former Mayor Kasim Reed and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for allowing me to serve the wonderful citizens of Atlanta and the brave women and men of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.”
A native of Atlanta, Baker has served the city since 1986, according to the release. He also served as an advisory board member on the State of Georgia Local Government 9-1-1 Authority, chairperson of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Working Group and board member for the Safe America Foundation, among other positions.
First Deputy Chief Randall Slaughter, another Atlanta native, will serve as Interim Fire Chief.
“I am honored and humbled that Mayor Bottoms has placed her trust in me to serve as Interim Fire Chief for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department,” Slaughter said. “My pledge is to always do my very best to represent the department and city well, and to ultimately ensure that citizens and visitors continue to enjoy the outstanding level of service that they have come to expect from the department and its firefighters.”