The fire service has a chief for almost everything, Chief of Adminstration, Chief of EMS, Chief of Fire Prevention, Chief of Logistics, Assistant Chiefs, and Battalion Chiefs. However, I want to add one more to the list, Chief Customer Officer. This designation had its rise in the business community in the late 1990's and functioned as an advocate for customers.
Perhaps this is just the thing that our departments need. A dedicated position that advocates for the customer (our citizens). A Chief position that is not primarily concerned with politics, strategy, finances, union negotiations, or SOP's, but is solely focused on ensuring that the members of our community have a voice, and that their voice is being heard by the Fire Department.
I know the reality is that no department is going to create this Chief's position, but the truth is that we should all be functioning as chief customer officers. Especially those of us who work in fire prevention role as we typically experience more exposure to the public (our customer base). We should always remember that we exist for our community, we should take every voice seriously, and we should be a constant advocate for those we have sworn to serve.