Upper Darby welcomes its first African American fire chief, Derrick Sawyer, the former Philadelphia fire commissioner, writes Maria Panaritis for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
His hiring represents an effort to bring the township’s public safety infrastructure closer in line with the diversity of the Upper Darby community.
That said, Sawyer, 61, is the only Black man among Upper Darby’s 53 paid firefighters.
Sawyer was pushed out of his role as Philadelphia fire commissioner after two years by Mayor Jim Kenney, who favored a white outsider.
Upper Darby police currently has one Black sergeant and one Black patrol officer.
Sawyer got the Upper Darby job after a national search initiated by Democratic Mayor Barbarann Keffer.
Sawyer’s looking at Upper Darby’s old and dense housing , poverty levels, and tight fire department budgets as he figures out Upper Darby’s greatest risks.
“My plan is to visit every single fire station in this community and let them air out some of the things that they feel need to be addressed early so that we can have some early wins,” he said. “So that we can kind of move on, together.”
He added: “As a team.”
Read more about Upper Darby’s first black fire chief here.
You Might Also Like