IFD chief to retire, take new post

Brian Sanford. (Provided Photo/IFD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Fire Department Chief Brian Sanford is retiring after 30 years with the department as he continues to deal with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Sanford will take a new position with DPS, serving as chief of staff in the director’s office, helping to oversee the different agencies under the DPS umbrella.

The chief announced his retirement to the department in a heartfelt statement, outlining his future path and his appreciation for IFD’s support through his illness.

No timeline has been released on Sanford’s transition. He’ll stay IFD chief until a replacement is named. DPS Director Troy Riggs plans to begin the search for a new fire chief soon.

IFD released a long list of Sanford’s achievements, including the improvement of the department’s building inspection program and reducing the use of overtime and sick hours.

Following is Sanford’s full statement to IFD:

From the moment I accepted the position of IFD Chief in 2008, I placed a high value on the importance of an open door policy and open lines of communication between my office and you. The week’s end reports have been one way to try and maintain that vision and communicate important information to each and every one of you in a more personal yet timely fashion. Often times I hear that most of you go straight to the “rumors” section of my week’s end reports and work your way up. Today I am going to put the rumors portion at the top and address a rumor that has been circulating for quite some time.

As will be announced later today, I will be stepping down as the Chief of IFD and stepping into the role of “Chief of Staff” for Director Riggs and the Department of Public Safety. A definitive date for full retirement from IFD has yet to be decided. Between now and then a process will occur to select a new Chief to lead the Department going forward. In my new role as Chief of Staff I am looking forward to continuing my working relationship with each and every one of you in addition to a broader role with the other 7 divisions of DPS. More information will be forthcoming but I can tell you that the same value I place on our lines of communication now will remain a priority with my new position. My e-mail address is still the same…only my office will be down the hall.

I appreciate all of the concern that has been shown to me as I deal with my ongoing health issues and understand better than anyone the future physical limitations I will incur. I feel honored that the Director has asked me to take on an even larger role in Public Safety and know that IFD will continue to remain the finest fire department in the country.

As we all know, the current speed of social media makes it almost impossible for me to deliver the message to each of you personally. For those of you who do not see it here first…I apologize. I continue to cherish the opportunity to work with each of you and look forward to this new opportunity. Please see the press release below for greater detail.


Chief Brian Sanford

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard released this statement:

“Chief Sanford dedicated 30 years of his life to protecting the people of this great city. His strong leadership, calm demeanor, and constant focus on the best interests of his fellow firefighters will carry on at IFD for years to come. I am pleased the people of Indianapolis will continue to benefit from Sanford’s wisdom and expertise as Chief of Staff in the Department of Public Safety.”

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