New TFD Chief Sworn In



Today, the newest Fire Chief for the Tallahassee Fire Department was sworn in. City Manager Anita Favors Thompson and other City officials conducted the official swearing-in ceremony for Jerome Gaines at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall.


“I am delighted to welcome Chief Gaines to our ranks,” Favors Thompson said. “Chief Gaines brings with him a wealth of knowledge, working for more than 30 years in fire safety. I’m confident that his extensive experience will be an asset to the City’s leadership team, the Fire Department and the community.”


As head of the Tallahassee Fire Department, Chief Gaines will direct a staff of 280 employees and maintain responsibility for an annual budget of $33 million.


Prior to his appointment as the Chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department, Gaines worked for the Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) in Fort Wayne, Ind. There, Gaines served as Assistant Chief over the Operations Division. Some highlights of his career include a focus on employee development and training; demonstrated leadership abilities as Section Chief, helping to oversee FWFD’s 18 fire stations and more than 350 employees; and efforts to improve area services through mutual aid with other agencies and the implementation of a computer-aided dispatching system to reduce response times.


Gaines earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. He has also graduated from the Allen County, Ind., Policy Academy; National Fire Academy Arson Investigation Program; and National Fire Academy Chief Officer Leadership Program.


“I would like to thank City Manager Anita Favors Thompson, Assistant City Manager Dee Crumpler and the selection committee for giving me this tremendous opportunity to lead a world class fire department in continuing to provide excellent service to the citizens of Tallahassee,” Chief Gaines said. “I am anxious to start work, and I am excited about what the future holds. My wife and I look forward to becoming members of a great community.”


Chief Gaines and his wife, Denice, have three daughters, Tonya, Courtney and Jenai, and a son, Jorel. Chief Gaines also has seven grandchildren.


For more information about the Tallahassee Fire Department, please visit You can also stay up-to-date with the department by liking its Facebook page  or following @COTFire on Twitter.