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Dec 16, 2020

A new Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Chief, Jeff Buchanan, and Department of Public Safety Chief, Louis Molina, have been approved by the Las Vegas City Council.

Las Vegas Fire & Rescue provides all fire suppression, prevention and education programs in the city as well as paramedic emergency medical services to the residents and visitors of the Las Vegas community. The department also has a Bomb Squad, Hazardous Materials Team and Technical Rescue Team that provides services for the city and the rest of Clark County.

The Department of Public Safety provides the public with law enforcement and detention services. This department manages the city jail and includes the deputy city marshals who provide public safety at city parks and facilities, as well as Animal Control services.


Buchanan has been the senior deputy fire chief since he joined the department in February, and for the past four months has been in a dual role as acting fire chief. He will begin his new position immediately.  Prior to his arrival at the city of Las Vegas, Buchanan was a deputy fire chief for the Clark County Fire Department. Before joining Clark County, Buchanan was with the city of North Las Vegas for 13 years. He served in the positions of firefighter, paramedic, SWAT medic, EMS captain, training captain, fire captain, assistant fire chief and acting fire chief. In 2013, Buchanan was appointed fire chief for North Las Vegas, and later accepted a dual role and was named the interim city manager.

Buchanan is an adjunct instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the College of Southern Nevada, where he has taught for nine years. He has taught and built curriculum for the National Fire Academy in its leadership programs, and holds Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration degrees. He currently is pursuing a Doctorate in Public Policy from UNLV, expecting to graduate in May of 2021. Buchanan is the first vice president for the Nevada Fire Chiefs Association and chair of the governor-appointed Board of Fire Services for the State of Nevada.


How are you feeling being the new chief, coming from an outside organization?

This is truly just an exciting, thrilling, humbling opportunity to join the city of Las Vegas. And to now be named fire chief I’m very grateful.  I’m excited for the future and just humbled and honored for the opportunity.

What is your top priority coming into this position?

The psychological, emotional, behavioral health of our fire department employees is critically important. Without a healthy mind, your body’s not healthy, and with neither of those working in concert with each other they can’t be their very best.

How do you want people to see the Fire and Rescue Department?

Progressive, excellent at what they do. And we’re excellent at what we do not just because we say it, but we get tons of practice fighting fires, providing medical treatment, and continuing care. Our firefighter are very skilled and I think we provide excellence to the community.

What excites you most about this position?

To be a part of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue as a fire chief is thrilling for a number of different  reasons. To take us to the future and make us even better is exciting.

What is something you want the public to know?

I’m a family man. My family is everything to me. If I’m not at work I’m spending my time with my family and that’s what really makes me tick. 


Louis Molina is a second-generation, decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He will lead the city’s Department of Public Safety, which provides the public with law enforcement and detention services. This department manages the city jail and includes the deputy city marshals (who provide public safety at city parks and facilities) as well as animal control services.

Molina most recently served as the first deputy commissioner for the Westchester County, New York Department of Corrections.  He will start in his new position at the city Jan. 11, 2021. Having worked in policing, a district attorney’s office and corrections, Molina has operationalized sustainable criminal justice reform practices, leading to major improvement of operations, investment in staff and enhancement of public safety. He has also built strong partnerships with faith-based and community leaders, and nonprofit organizations working with the justice-involved population.  

Molina received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Chaminade University, a Master of Public Administration from Marist College School of Management, a Master of Arts degree in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and studied abroad at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He was a U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Justice Programs National Institute of Justice Scholar and most recently received a scholarship from the Harvard Business School Fund for Leadership & Innovation. Molina also has completed the Harvard Business School General Management Program.


How are you feeling being the new chief, coming from an outside organization?

My wife and I are very excited to join the city of Las Vegas family. For me, professionally my whole career has been dedicated to law enforcement so being able to share many of the best practices with the law enforcement that I have been a part of is going to be great and I’m looking forward to building on many of the successes that the city Department of Public Safety has already done.

What is your top priority coming into this position?

For me, the top priority has been the department staff. People are the greatest asset for the department so I’m looking forward to working with the department’s collective genius because that allows the organization to be a learning organization, it helps strive for continuous improvement and really operate at a high level to address the needs of the public.

How do you want people to see the Department of Public Safety?

Community input is vital to success and having a good partnership with the community so I want the community to look at the department as one of high integrity, transparency and always willing to listen to community recommendations so we can address whatever needs they feel are important.

What excites you most about this position?

Professionally I’ve always been on one side of public safety, either I’ve been pigeonholed in policing or corrections. So, having an opportunity to work with community policing, issues with our marshals, having an opportunity to oversee corrections management at the same time dealing with our incarcerated population, really is a unique and exciting experience because it allows me to really integrate best practices in two of our major pillars of our criminal justice system. In addition I’m also an animal lover, I grew up with pets my whole life, so I’m looking forward to working with Animal Control and The Animal Foundation.

What is something you want the public to know?

I’ve benefitted my whole life, since childhood, from having a good community very active in my life. And I’ve been able to give back to the community through mentoring of young adults, mentoring staff, it’s really part of my leadership style. So I look forward to getting to know all of the communities that make up the city of Las Vegas. I look forward to sharing with them my professional and personal journey, and I hope to have the opportunity to mentor young people, mentor my staff, because that’s really how you help evolve policing and public safety overall to really meet the needs of not only the residents of every age but the millions of visitors who come to our great city.

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