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Fire Chief

Position: Fire Chief
Appointing Authority: City of Vista
Mailing Address:
415 S. Melrose Drive, Ste 105, Vista, CA  92081
A firefighter in uniform with badges in front of the American flag.

The City of Vista appointed Gerard Washington as the Chief of the Vista Fire Department, effective August 14, 2023.  

Chief Washington brings 32 years of experience, including working as the Assistant Fire Chief of the Milwaukee Fire Department, where he led diversity and inclusion initiatives for fire cadet and firefighter recruitment, receiving national attention. Washington also led the Fire 20/20 initiative, a program funded by the Department of Homeland Security focusing on building effective service delivery to multicultural communities.

Washington served on the board of directors for Diverse and Resilient, a Milwaukee area non-profit organization that does both capacity building and direct service work to address the health disparities experienced by the LGBTQ community in Wisconsin. Washington also served on the St. Coletta Day School board, which aids students ages 9-21 with intellectual disabilities. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association (WSFCA), the Waukesha Fire Chiefs Association (WCFCA), and the liaison between the WCFCA and the Milwaukee County Fire Chiefs Association (MCFCA).

Washington holds a master’s degree in business management and a bachelor's degree in public administration, with a minor in psychology. He is also a United States War College graduate in Leader Development (National Security and Strategy). Washington is passionate about developing and mentoring future leaders and is an expert in organizational effectiveness within the fire service.