Posted July 23, 2012
Joseph Murray named City's new fire chief
Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. has appointed Joseph Murray as Dearborn’s new fire chief.
Murray was promoted from his position as Firefighter II. His firefighting career began in 2001, hiring in with Dearborn in 2004. He was promoted to Firefighter II in 2010.
Mayor O’Reilly said he chose Murray after a 5-month search because of his strong education credentials and leadership experience.
Murray’s extensive education includes a doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University (2011), and three degrees from Madonna University: a Bachelor of Science in fire science/occupational safety and health (2003), a Master’s in Business Administration (2005) and a Bachelor’s in Nursing (2007).
In addition, Murray graduated from Eastern Michigan University’s School of Fire Staff and Command and is a State of Michigan certified Paramedic, Fire Officer I and II, Fire Instructor, EMS Instructor and Fire Inspector.
Murray, who says he “grew up in a fire house,” is originally from Chicago where his father worked for the city’s fire department. “As a kid, all the parents I knew were firefighters or police officers.”
In Michigan, Murray at first worked part time in the City of Dearborn’s Neighborhood Services Division. It was there he “decided I wanted to become part of this community.”
“My goals for the Fire Department are to maintain the high level of service we’re known for in Dearborn. “The Dearborn Fire Department currently meets the top standards in the country, the challenge is to do this with fewer resources,” he said.
Murray continued, “There are many challenges during times of economic hardship, and with those challenges comes a higher demand on emergency resources. One of our biggest challenges is to be more proactive with decreased tax revenue. We need to do more with less.”
Murray said the key is effectiveness and efficiency. “We need to work cooperatively with other communities and other fire departments.
“It’s important to keep what we have, but fire services are changing to adapt to our society as a whole. Our scope must fit our challenges whether it’s new types of hazardous material or fewer resources.”
One of Murray’s goals is the recruitment of high performing local residents. Three new firefighters joined the ranks on July 18 and all are lifelong Dearborn residents and participants in the department’s Cadet Program.
Murray’s doctoral research was conducted on perceptions of specific barriers that impede recruitment of Arab Americans into the fire service.
Dearborn’s new fire chief is responsible for 121 professional firefighters and four fire stations.
The Dearborn Fire Department call volume leads to more than 11,000 runs per year. The response time is four minutes.
Before his appointment to fire chief, Murray held positions of responsibility with Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center as the manager of critical care and trauma support.
He was instrumental in the successful implementation of Bluetooth-enabled EKG machines that wirelessly transit vital signs to emergency room doctors while patients are en route to the hospital.
Murray was also secretary for the Dearborn firefighter’s union, IAFF Local 412, and for five years taught Fire Science and Emergency management classes for Madonna University.
Murray replaces Richard Miller, who left his position when asked by Gov. Snyder to become the State of Michigan Fire Marshal.
An active member of the Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive, he is also a member of the Knights of Columbus. His wife, Victoria, is a biochemist for the University of Michigan.
“I am very excited to serve the City of Dearborn as the new fire chief. I am thankful to Mayor O’Reilly and the City Council for their confidence in my abilities, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the fine employees of the Fire Department. The professional men and women of our fire department will undoubtedly make my job a bit easier,” he said.