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Chief FergusonChief Scott Ferguson-Retired
Murrieta Fire Department

After 37 years, I’ve decided to hang up my helmet and coat, and retire from the fire service, effective July 19, 2019. While I will miss the people and the routine, finishing my career as a Murrieta Fire Chief has certainly been the highlight of a lot of good memories. 

More about Chief Ferguson below written 3 years back

It has been roughly 34 years since a badge was first pinned on my fire department uniform shirt. Times were certainly different then; some would argue that decades’ worth of progress in technology, efficiencies, and communication have made our work lives measurably better. Others would lament that these same developments have deteriorated the human side of what makes a business great.

Customer service was once defined by those you developed relationships with while eating at a mom-and-pop diner, getting gas at a station where the attendant actually filled your tank, gave green stamps, and washed your windows , and trips to buy shoes from a shop the size of my uncle’s panel van. In many cases, these relationships are now being replaced by warehouse stores, vending machines, and 140-character tweets that leave too little time to think about any consequences.

This reflection is not intended as an indictment on how our society has evolved; I enjoy the new gadgets and seeing my grand kids on Facebook as much as anyone. It is, however, a serious consideration that members of the Murrieta Fire Department are beginning to consider as we begin to plan our next steps on how best to grow as an organization.

The words “culture” or “tradition” are often used to describe the characteristics of public safety agencies that make them unique. It is true that a family-like atmosphere exists between the men and women of the police and fire service who have taken an oath to “protect and serve.” They eat, clean, inspect, train, respond, and sometimes argue like any other brother or sister might when they spend so much time together. They are also likely to find the outer edges of each person’s limitations, leading them to support, empathize, and occasionally mourn for the same reasons.

As a Chief that has been a part of six different fire departments, I bring this up because I have seen a number of agencies that have failed to fully understand the impact that some traditions have to have on the quality of service they provide to their community. It is hard to describe, but it is almost as though when a new recruit graduates from the academy they are issued the first of many bricks intended to insulate themselves from any outside influences that may threaten their security or expose them to a level of emotion that could jeopardize their effectiveness as a firefighter. These perceived threats may take the form of a down economy, politics, personal agendas, traumatic events, or contrasting personalities.

The problem is that over the years this veneer can become so thick with calcification that the “safe place” created to weather the storm has also effectively shielded them from the contemporary influences that would otherwise ensure their sustainability. In effect, they have become victims of their own device, making them more susceptible to doubt and an erosion of trust.

It is within this context that the sworn and civilian members of the Murrieta Fire Department are beginning to excel. Through a number of newly formed committees and work groups, our employees have entered into a comprehensive period of self-assessment; one that will help refine our decision-making by taking advantage of the best budget, planning and data tools.

But, this is not what makes this organization special. What does is that our firefighters are invested in the community the same way as the gas station attendant or shop keeper was decades ago, when relationships were still a critical part of any definition of success. Unlike many areas, most of our firefighters live in town and respond, not just to a patient, but to their friends and neighbors. Frankly, our paramedic firefighters do just a little bit more than most – they have learned to protect a culture that firmly believes that it is the extras that make them different.

So, while it is true that I have been fortunate to have been a part of a number of very good agencies, it is equally true that I have never been so proud to be a part of an organization that works hard, believes in continuous improvement, and cares as much for their community as do these men and women. They have never forgotten the love of service that grew from the spirit of a handful of volunteers in 1947.


Chief McConnellChief Lisa McConnell-
Temecula Police Department

Chief Lisa McConnell joined the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in September 1991. She attended the 119th Basic Peace Officer's Academy, and began her Sheriff's Department career assigned to the Robert Presley Detention Center. She later worked patrol at the Lake Elsinore and Southwest Stations. She was then assigned to the Personnel Bureau as a Department Recruiter.

She held collateral duties serving as an adjunct Public Information Officer (PIO) and a Crisis Negotiator. In 2004, McConnell was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to the Corrections Division at the Southwest Detention Center. In 2009, she was transferred to Field Operations and worked a variety of assignments as a Sergeant at the Perris Station, until she was transferred to the Media Information Bureau as the Department's Public Information Officer. McConnell was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in December 2013, within Sheriff's Administration. In 2014, she was transferred to the Southwest Station where she held field and administrative assignments.

Chief McConnell holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Science Degree in Psychology. She is a graduate of the Supervisory Leadership Institute and resides locally.

August 1st, Sheriff Stan Sniff promoted Lieutenant Lisa McConnell to the rank of Sheriff's Captain - Captain McConnell took command of the Sheriff's Southwest Station and simultaneously serves as Police Chief for the City of Temecula.