Gainesville’s new fire chief speaks with local media

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST
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New chief Joseph Dixon spoke via zoom from his current job in Goldsboro,N.C.. He spoke about Gainesville’s growing inclusivity in several areas of city government and his own division of fire and rescue for about thirty minutes.

The main thing Chief Dixon wants residents to know was that they hired him for his track record, not the color of his skin.

Dixon said, “I do believe that I wasn’t selected because I was a black chief. I was selected because of the education, credentials, and demonstrated competency and what I bring to the city of Gainesville.”

Dixon will be the city’s first hired Black fire chief.

Stephen Hesson will officially be the first Black chief. He will take the reigns as interim chief from the retiring Joanne Rice after Feb. 6. She is the acting fire chief and the first woman to hold that position.

Dixon will be acting fire chief on March 15.

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