Cleveland Heights Fire Lt. William “Dave” Freeman will be sworn in as the new chief at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at .
The public is invited to the ceremony in council chambers and to a reception in the City Hall atrium after Freeman officially becomes the new fire chief.
“Lt. Freeman has all the qualities needed in a strong fire chief. I have no doubt that he will carry on the traditions of the excellent fire and paramedic services that Cleveland Heights residents have come to expect,” said Mayor Ed Kelley in a press release.
The 46-year-old will soon lead a team of 69 firefighters and other staff members who comprise the .
But you can't call him new.
Freeman has been with the Cleveland Heights department for 20 years and has served as a lieutenant for seven.
Acting City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil announced that Freeman would be the .
Four Cleveland Heights lieutenants took the civil service test to be considered for the new role, and Freeman was the top candidate, O’Neil said. Six fire chiefs from the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association testing agency recommended him for the position, as did current Cleveland Heights Fire Chief Kevin Mohr, who has been in the department since 1976 and will retire this month.
Freeman, who has also served as the paramedic coordinator for five years, was asked if he thought during the course of his career that he’d be chief one day.
“Yes, I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m not going to say chief but I always aspire to the next position. I always have,” Freeman said in June. “One thing I always tell my new guys is always act like you’re going to be in that next position … if you’re a fireman, you have to act like you’re going to be a lieutenant someday.”
Freeman, who lives in Amherst and has four sons ages 11 to 18, started training with Mohr in July.
“The biggest thing for me right now is to kind of integrate myself, and I really want to open some relationships with city management and council,” Freeman said, adding that he wants to meet with chiefs in nearby communities. “Our current chief, Chief Mohr, is very connected with other chiefs in the area, and I want to continue that because I think it’s very important.”
O’Neil said in an interview in June that the city is considering launching a program similar to “” in the fire department.
“After Lt. Freeman is sworn in … we want to talk about ways we can duplicate (Meet Your Police) so our residents, on a regular basis, can interact with our fire personnel,” she said.