LANSING, Mich. — Brian Sturdivant started his role as Lansing new fire chief on Monday, and FOX 47 sat down with him to talk about his goals for the department.
“This isn’t my very first rodeo,” Sturdivant said. “I’ve been a fire chief in a few other communities, so I feel very comfortable.”
Sturdivant’s experiences traces back 30 years includes leadership positions in fire departments in California, Virginia and Arizona. Sturdivant spent three years as the fire chief in Battle Creek, where he was raised. But becoming Lansing’s fire chief, he says, felt special.
“For me, here in Lansing, it’s kind of personal, this is where my dad was from, he graduated high school here in lansing and grew up here so it’s kinda personal,” Sturdivant said.
In Lansing, Sturdivant will oversee nearly 175 employees and says he’s ready to hit the ground running with goals he set way before he started.
“So, I ‘ll be looking to work with City Hall and HR in developing some strategic plans for the organization, a fleet replacement plan for the organization, a facility update plan, so we have the confidence our firefighters have the tools to provide for the community,” he said.
Allegations of racism and mistreatment within the fire department came to the surface two years ago, when several current and former Black employees of the department filed lawsuits against the city claiming racial discrimination. Sturdivant says fixing the issue starts with building morale within the department.
“We just want to make sure that our firefighters are supported, they’re safe, they conduct themselves, they can role out and do their job,” Sturdivant said.