Chief Millage Peaks
The City’s Second African-American Fire Chief will retire after leading the department for two years.
By Ismail Muhammad
The Los Angeles Fire Department’s Chief Millage Peaks unexpectedly announced that he will retire next month. The sudden resignation puts an end to what has been a controversial tenure for the City’s second Black fire chief.
Chief Peaks took the reins of the LAFD during a difficult time. After taking office, he had to implement $54 million in cuts to the Department’s 2011-2012 budget demanded by Mayor Villaraigosa. The outcome of the cuts was a controversial redeployment plan that got rid of fire trucks and ambulances at a quarter of the city’s fire stations. Peaks faced sustained opposition to his plan from the firefighters union and outraged citizens.
It was even suggested that the plan would lead to casualties as the city sought to cut costs.
Chief Peaks defended the plan and it was eventually passed by the City Council. Peaks expects the plan to save Los Angeles over $190 million over the next three years.
In a written statement, Mayor Villaraigosa had nothing but praise for Chief Peaks, observing that in a “moment of great challenge, he managed carefully and led with decisive action to creatively solve the department’s complex fiscal situation.”
“As the author of the City’s first new fire deployment plan in over 40 years,” the Mayor said, “he created a plan that will allocate resources more efficiently and effectively to ensure that our City is safe and our residents are protected.”
Chief Peaks’ retirement will be effective July 11. He is married with four adult children.