DENVER – Current Denver Fire Deputy Chief Desmond Fulton will be sworn in next Monday as the new chief of the department, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Thursday.
Fulton was named deputy chief in March after serving as a division chief. He has been with the department for 22 years.
“He knows this department and has served alongside men and women up and down the ranks,” Hancock said of his choice at an 11 a.m. news conference, adding that Fulton would be committed to “making the Denver Fire Department the best and most inclusive it can be.”
Fulton said he was committed to running a department that values differences and treats one another “with respect and kindness.”
“I recognize the importance of social equity and will work to ensure our department is as diverse and inclusive as the residents and communities we serve,” he said in the news conference.
Fulton said that he wants to honor the tradition of the department but also address the changing times and some of the issues the department has faced in recent years, including a lawsuit filed in recent weeks involving two Black women firefighters who alleged they were discriminated against because of their gender and race.
“There is strength in that diversity,” Fulton said. “We need to do a better job of recognizing and appreciating that.”
He said that achieving those changes would come from having difficult conversations within the department and holding each other accountable.
“When people step out of bounds, we need to pick each other up, hold each other accountable, learn from it and move on,” Fulton said.
Fulton will take over for Interim Chief Todd Bower, who was named to that position after former Fire Chief Eric Tade resigned in February after inappropriate comments were made during the opening of the Denver Firefighters Local 858 and Protective Associations' Firefighters Annual Ball, Retiree Banquet and Awards Ceremony. Tade had served as chief for nine years.
As deputy chief, Fulton has been in charge of managing daily operations, budget oversight. He is also the DFD’s representative on the city Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Team and part of the mayor’s task force addressing racism.