KING COUNTY (WA) – The events of the last few weeks have marked a pivotal point in our nation’s history. Following the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, communities around the world have united to send a strong message that police brutality and systemic racism will not be tolerated. We are listening, and we stand together as a sounding board to resonate the voices of our community members.
As an organization purpose-built to serve one of the most diverse counties in the State, we must understand and act on this message. Complicity is not an option. One of the core values of the King County Fire Chiefs Association (KCFCA) is equity in public safety. We hold ourselves accountable to provide every single member of the communities we are sworn to serve and protect with excellence in fire and life safety services. We stand with all people of color, in the fire service and communities across the county, state, nation and world. We support your first amendment right to peacefully protest and stand up for all things just and fair.
KCFCA knows that making a statement of support is not enough – we must have a plan for moving forward to make long-lasting change in our communities. Established in 2017, the KCFCA Diversity Subcommittee was created to recruit, hire and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of our amazing county. Currently led by Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, this committee has worked to be an active voice in addressing and breaking down barriers that disproportionately impact Black and underserved communities, and there is more work to be done.
Understanding how systematic racism has impacted the fire service starts with education. Our organization is committed to actively listening to our members and community, as well as seeking best practices from organizations that excel in this area, to obtain that knowledge and use it to effect necessary change for our county. We are committed to identifying how racism and biases show up in the fire service and to eliminating those obstacles for our fire service members and our community members.
As leaders of fire agencies in King County, we will prioritize continuing to find ways to end injustices that impact anyone in our workforce and the communities we serve. This includes reaching out to community leaders to better understand the needs in underrepresented populations and partnering with like-minded public service organizations to best serve those needs.
Media can request joint virtual interviews with the KCFCA President Chief Matt Morris and Diversity Subcommittee Chair Chief Harold Scoggins by emailing Brad.Chaney@southkingfire.org.