Rose promoted to chief

Published 3:44 am Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Contributing Editor

Robbie Rose was named chief of the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS Department on Monday.
“Robbie was selected from among a strong field of candidates from several states,” City Manager James C. Smith said during the City Council’s meeting Monday. “We are extremely pleased to make this appointment and look forward to the positive, stable leadership in fire and emergency medical services which Robbie Rose will bring to the Fire-Rescue-EMS Department.”
Rose replaces Jimmy Davis as chief of the department. On July 17, 2009, Smith announced that Davis had been separated from employment with the city. A month before he was terminated, Davis had been placed on administrative leave by Smith. At that time, Rose was named acting chief of the department. In November, Davis was hired by Belhaven to serve as the town’s fire chief for four months at $5,000 a month. He replaced Derrick Myers, a volunteer, as chief.
Rose was selected from a field of 27 applicants. Finalists for the chief’s position were evaluated by an interview panel. Rose was the interview panel’s unanimous choice, Smith said. Rose’s annual salary as chief of the department is $65,582.
Smith said the department is well-equipped and its personnel are well-trained.
“What we needed was to establish solid leadership,” Smith said.
Rose believes he can provide that leadership.
“I really have a genuine interest in everyone down here,” Rose said during an interview Tuesday at the department’s headquarters station. “I really have a genuine interest in developing these guys. I really have a genuine interest in the department because I’m from Washington. … I want to build on what we have.”
Rose said he will depend on the department’s personnel to help him do that building.
“To me, the biggest asset about this department is the people in the department,” Rose said.
Rose said he became interested in the fire service after several friends who were volunteer firefighters persuaded him to give it a try.
“It was something I had never really considered, although as a boy I would chase the fire trucks through the city,” Rose said.
It didn’t take him long to decide that he like being a firefighters, Rose said. And at first, Rose was not interested in the “EMS side of the department, but after being exposed to the EMS component of the department, his view changed.
“All of a sudden, I took an interest in that,” Rose said.
When a position as a paid firefighter/EMT became available, Rose applied for it and was hired.
“It’s just been a positive thing for me ever since,” Rose said.
Rose knows his new position comes with challenges.
“We’re up against some big budget issues,” Rose said about the city and its departments, including his department.
The city and its departments are going to have to get the most out of every dollar they spend, Rose said.
Rose has served the city since 1987, starting as a volunteer and working in almost every capacity in the department as he made his way through up his career ladder to his most-recent position as fire-prevention division chief. Before coming to work for the city, Rose worked at National Spinning Co. for 14 years, eventually becoming a department manager, according to a news release from the city.
Rose received an associate’s degree in fire-protection technology from Wilson Technical Community College in 2004. His certifications include fire investigations, fire inspection, emergency medicine and fire instructions and hazardous materials. Rose has completed the N.C. Association of Fire Chiefs’ chief officer executive-development program.