DOWNEY - Lonald "Lonnie" Croom, a Downey firefighter for 26 years, has been promoted to fire chief.He will be sworn into office at the end of this year, when he replaces current fire chief Jeff Turner, who will retire. Croom, a Downey High School graduate, began working with the city 26 years ago as a firefighter. He quickly distinguished himself by coordinating the Fire Explorer program and the statewide California Fire Exploring Academy. Croom also developed an innovative, computer-based Emergency Medical Technician training-enrichment program. "For almost three decades, Lonnie has been a model of service and dedication to public safety, even volunteering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, supervising 400 personnel in disaster recovery efforts," said Mayor Anne Bayer. Promoted through the ranks of the Downey Fire Department, Croom served on engine and truck companies as a paramedic and fire engineer. He was promoted to captain in 1996 and deputy fire marshall in 2008. "I've watched our new Chief's leadership skills develop over his many years with the city, and I'm confident that Chief Croom will ensure the Downey Fire Department continues to provide the highest level of fire and safety protection and emergency response services," said city manager Gerald Caton. In a statement, Croom said, "This is a dream come true, to be able to serve the community in which I‚Äàgrew up." Croom is a certified emergency medical technician, a state fire officer, a fire investigator and prevention officer, a state explorer academy instructor and a training officer. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal State Long Beach. The City Council's vote to promote Croom was 4-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Luis Marquez abstaining. Jeff Turner was talked out of retirement in late 2008 to lead the Downey Fire Department when then-chief Mark Sauter was moved to an administrative position focused on emergency preparedness. Turner's position was reduced to part-time in 2009. Information on Croom's salary and compensation package was not immediately available.
********** Published: November 25, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 32