AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Fire Department's new chief was officially sworn in Monday morning.

  • Joel Baker sworn in as AFD fire chief Monday
  • Brings 30 years of experience
  • Focusing on fire station renovation and crew morale

Joel Baker is AFD's first African-American chief.

The former Marine brings 30 years of experience, rising through the ranks of the fire service in the Atlanta area.

PREVIOUS: City Manager Names Joel Baker as New Austin Fire Chief

Among his priorities, Baker will focus on staffing and hiring a workforce reflective of Austin.

“When you want to recruit African Americans, you send African Americans,” Baker said. “When you want to recruit women, you send women. When you want to recruit members of the LGBT community you send those members who they identify with. We will let people know that Austin Fire Department, it’s not a job, it is a career.

The new fire chief says in the coming week he’s been meeting with executive staff to look at fire station locations, station renovations, and way to enhance morale.