The City of Santa Rosa has selected Scott Westrope as the next Chief of the Santa Rosa Fire Department following a nationwide and extensive recruitment.
Westrope has served 21 of his 27-year fire service career with the Santa Rosa Fire Department – including the last three years as the Deputy Fire Chief – and has gained experience through the organization in the areas of operations, training, emergency medical services, emergency management, and large-scale events that impact the City.
Westrope has extensive experience in collaborative work with the local community and partner governmental agencies on issues such as strategic planning, operational and response enhancements, and firefighter behavioral health. He led the development and implementation of the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s Recruitment and Diversity Strategic Plan and Wildland Response and Resiliency Strategic Plan. Under Westrope’s leadership as Interim Fire Chief, the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau has funded and will soon implement a Vegetation Management Program that will increase the resiliency of the community to wildfire.
“We were fortunate to have a strong and competitive group of candidates for our next Fire Chief, but Scott rose to the top in the areas most important for our community,” said City Manager Sean McGlynn. “Not only has he demonstrated immense leadership through previous local wildfires and work with community partners and other agencies, but during his interim post as Chief, he brought forward a plan for strengthening the resiliency of our fire organization and the community and strategized a path toward a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Scott has demonstrated his incredible commitment to serving Santa Rosa over the years, and I look forward to seeing how the Santa Rosa Fire Department will continue to evolve under his leadership.”
During the October 2017 wildfires, Westrope led firefighting efforts serving the critical function of a Branch Director and later transitioned to organizational recovery where he commissioned and managed the Citywide After-Action Review resulting in actionable items for systematic improvements to the City’s response to large-scale wildland fires. During the Kincade, LNU Lighting Complex, and Glass fires, Westrope led the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s strategic operational response including the evacuations and repopulation efforts of the Glass Fire.
“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Fire Chief for the Santa Rosa Fire Department,” said Chief Westrope. “It is a privilege to represent the City where I have lived, worked, and served for more than two decades and for an organization that stresses excellence and progress in every aspect of service to our community.”
Westrope himself has experienced the personal effects of wildfire disaster – his own home was destroyed in the Tubbs Fire in 2017. As a survivor Westrope said, “To be able to lead the organization and serve this community from a place of empathy is very important and special to me. Understanding what the Department has been through and what the community has experienced is the guiding line for developing this exceptional organization into the future.”
Westrope serves on several boards and working groups with the mission of improving fire service delivery to the community including: REDCOM Board of Directors, Sonoma County Fire Service Working Group, Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association, and OES Region 2 Operational Area Coordinator.
Westrope officially begins his role as Chief on March 15, 2021 and will be continuing the momentum the City, including the Fire Department, have prioritized in the areas of wildfire resiliency, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“I am committed to strengthening relationships through our community-oriented and community-based approach to building a collective future, increasing safety and resiliency from the threat of wildfires, expanding our all-risk service delivery capability and capacity, and recruiting, retaining, and developing professionals backgrounds and experiences that are inclusive of the community’s diversity.” said Chief Westrope.
Prior to being hired by the City, Westrope worked for the Pismo Beach Fire Department and San Luis Ambulance Service. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Science from the Santa Rosa Junior College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Services Management with a Special Certificate in Homeland Security from Union Institute and University, and is a Master’s Degree Candidate in Organizational Development. He is also a Certified Chief Officer and a graduate of Leadership Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Local Leaders Academy.