Richmond fire chief accepts new job in Redmond, Wash.

Richmond Fire Chief Adrian Sheppard in his office at City Hall. (Photos by Mike Kinney)

Richmond Fire Chief Adrian Sheppard has accepted the position of fire chief in Redmond, Wash., a city with a population of about 70,000, city officials announced Friday.

Sheppard will start his new job in February, City Manager Laura Snideman said in a notice to City Council that was shared in Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s e-forum newsletter.

Snideman said she will select an interim chief before Sheppard’s departure and initiate an open recruitment process for the city’s next fire chief.

” I am grateful for his service in Richmond and impressed with his dozens and dozens of contributions,” Snideman said.

Snideman credited Sheppard with a “multi-paged list” of accomplishments that includes “improving patient outcomes through securing LUCAS chest compression devices for every frontline apparatus and implementing electronic patient care reporting and quality assurance, overseeing the replacement of multiple apparatus, redesigning our recruitment practices with the goal of increasing diversity, and greatly improving our disaster preparedness, starting with recruiting a highly experience emergency manager and expanding CERT training, establishing a disaster council and creating disaster MOUs.”

The city manager also cited Sheppard’s passionate devotion to the annual Richmond Fire and Police Holiday toy drive serving hundreds of children.

Sheppard joined RFD as fire chief at the end of 2014. He previously worked for the Oakland Fire Department for 16 years, beginning as firefighter and advancing to Battalion Chief, a position he’d held since 2010. He’s also served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

His time in Richmond wasn’t without controversy. In May last year, Richmond Firefighters Local 188, the union representing RFD firefighters, voted “no confidence” in Sheppard. Five months later, Sheppard was a finalist for the fire chief position in Boise, ID, but didn’t get the job. In an October local news article about his candidacy in Boise, Local 188’s spokesperson, Fire Capt. Jason Flaum, said the union was frustrated by a lack of funding and “acknowledged Sheppard was placed in ‘an impossible environment’ by city council.”

“If we voted again today, we most likely would not vote for no confidence,” Flaum told BoiseDev in the article posted Oct. 5. “It was the world record of bad timing and horrible circumstances.”