City of Fort Atkinson names Peterson as new Fire/EMS Chief

LOGO 2019


DATE:              February 2, 2024

TO:                  Local Media Outlets

FROM:             Rebecca Houseman, City Manager

RE:                   City of Fort Atkinson names Peterson as new Fire/EMS Chief

The City of Fort Atkinson has named its next Fire/EMS Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator. Bruce Peterson of Johnson Creek has accepted the position. Peterson is currently the Fire Chief at the Johnson Creek Fire Department and has over 30 years of firefighting, EMS, and emergency management experience.

Peterson was selected as the finalist after an interview with the Police and Fire Commission Jan. 30. 

The new fire chief started his career as a firefighter/paramedic with the Village of Barrington, Illinois Fire Department. He continued his career there and from 2007 to 2014, Peterson served as a fire lieutenant. From 2014 to 2023 he was the Assistant Chief and from 2020 to 2023 was the acting fire marshal. He has served as the Fire Chief for the Johnson Creek Fire Department since March 2023.

Peterson holds a Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Management from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He also holds an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Service Technology from William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.

Division Chief Mike Lawrence has been serving as the interim fire chief at the department since previous Fire Chief Daryl Rausch retired in June 2023.

“When developing the job advertisement, interview process, and candidate questions, we surveyed members of the department and asked them to identify key attributes and skills needed in the next fire chief,” said City Manager Rebecca Housman.

“I am confident that we have selected a candidate that possesses those skills discussed by our fire/EMS personnel and one that is committed to building on the high standards of professionalism and service to the community our citizens have come to expect from the Fort Atkinson Fire Department,” Houseman added.

“I am appreciative of Division Chief Mike Lawrence’s service to the Department and the community for the last eight months as the Interim Chief. Division Chief Lawrence is an asset to this organization and a wonderful person. His support for this process and the decision to hire Chief Peterson shows his stellar character and commitment to the success of the Department,” continued Houseman.

“The Fort Atkinson Police and Fire Commission has worked diligently and carefully to interview interested and qualified candidates to fill the position of Fire/EMS Chief for the City of Fort Atkinson. The City engaged a recruiting firm GovHR to aid in the prescreening of potential candidates, coordinating finalist interviews and the recruiting process,” said Philip Jones, chairperson of the Police and Fire Commission.

“Chief Peterson brings more than 30 years of experience principally from Barrington, Illinois and most recently from Johnson Creek. We look forward to having Chief Peterson join our Department and lead the Department going forward,” Jones added.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Interim Chief Mike Lawrence for his guiding the department during the time that the search has been underway. I would also like to thank the members of the Police and Fire Commission and City Manager Houseman for their dedication, thoroughness and careful deliberation to the process and the selection process," he said.

The City received 33 applications from 15 states, including 13 from Wisconsin, for the position. The hiring committee went through two sets of interviews with seven total candidates. A formal swearing-in ceremony will be announced at a later date.



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