Nutter Names New Philly Fire Commissioner

Derrick Sawyer has served 29 years in the department.

On Wednesday, Mayor Nutter announced that Deputy Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer will take over effective on June 14th,” 6ABC reports. “He has served 29 years with the department in every officer rank from lieutenant to deputy chief.” He replaces Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, who has served in that office since being appointed by then-Mayor John Street in 2004. 

Find Mayor Nutter’s official announcement below:


Philadelphia, June 5, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter yesterday announced the appointment of Deputy Commissioner Derrick Sawyer as Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner, succeeding Lloyd Ayers who will officially retire after forty years of service on Friday, June 13th. Deputy Commissioner Sawyer’s appointment is effective on Saturday, June 14th.

“Deputy Commissioner Derrick Sawyer is a 29-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, a man who has served in multiple positions over the years and has carved out an expertise in community risk reduction, prevention and fire safety measures,” said Mayor Nutter. “Derrick Sawyer is the right person at the right time for this critically important position and I’m honored to make this appointment.”

Deputy Commissioner Sawyer graduated from the Community College of Philadelphia with an Associate’s degree in fire science and holds a BA in public safety administration from Holy Family University. He is currently pursuing an MA in homeland security at St. Joseph’s University.

“I am humbled and honored to be appointed as the next Fire Commissioner of this great city. I am excited and looking forward to continuing my service to this great city’s fine citizens,” said Commissioner Sawyer.

Mayor Nutter also praised Commissioner Ayers’ years of service to the citizens of Philadelphia, calling him a preeminent leader in the Fire Department. “Lloyd Ayers has given his entire working life to both his nation and his home town. After graduating from Dobbins High School and serving four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department in 1974. As Commissioner, Lloyd Ayers has set an example of the sensitive, respectful leadership to which the department and the public is entitled. I thank him for his leadership and service to this great city.”

In addition to appointing Derrick Sawyer as Commissioner, Mayor Nutter announced a new leadership team who will work with Sawyer, calling the it “one of the most diverse and talented teams that the department has ever seen”. Members of the leadership team are: Deputy Commissioner for Operations Jesse Wilson, Deputy Commissioner for Technical Services Henry Costo, Deputy Commissioner for Administration Diane Schweitzer (the first woman to hold this position), Deputy Commissioner for EMS David Gallagher, Executive Chief for Performance and Strategic Planning Yolanda Stallings, and Executive Chief Peter Crespo (the first Hispanic to hold this position).