Ormond fire chief, police officer get honors

Staff Writer

Last update: May 19, 2005

ORMOND BEACH -- The city's fire chief and one of its police officers recently received honors that rank them as some of the best in their professions.

Fire Chief Barry Baker was named Volusia County Fire Chief of the Year and Officer Lisa Rosenthal was chosen as the Volusia County Crimestoppers Officer of the Year in unrelated contests. Both learned of their honors at the end of April.

Baker and Rosenthal were honored again for those awards and other accomplishments at the Ormond Beach City Commission meeting Tuesday night. Mayor Fred Costello read proclamations outlining their achievements and designating Friday as Barry Baker Day and Saturday as Lisa Rosenthal Day in Ormond Beach.

Baker is also a candidate for Florida Fire Chief of the Year, an honor that will be decided in July.

"It's really an honor just to be recognized by your peers," Baker said. "When you have people in the same business who understand what you do every day, that's pretty special."

The Volusia County Fire Chiefs Association chose Baker as Volusia County Fire Chief of the Year and recommended that he be a candidate for Florida Fire Chief of the Year.

Baker was a firefighter for the city of Fairfax, Va., for more than 25 years. He worked his way up the ranks and became assistant fire chief of that city in 1994. He became Ormond Beach's fire chief in 1997.

One of Baker's accomplishments in Ormond Beach has been helping to create the closest unit response system formed a few years ago. It allows fire departments in eight east Volusia County cities to help one another. He also helped create uniform regional entry-level testing used by fire departments throughout the county since last year.

Baker has been a representative of the Volusia Council of Governments and has served on the board of directors of EVAC and the Florida Fire Chiefs Association. Last year, Baker took over as chairman of the State Emergency Response Plan.

During last year's hurricanes, Baker traveled to communities hit hardest by the storms and helped coordinate thousands of emergency workers in his capacity as chairman of the State Emergency Response Plan.

Rosenthal was hired by the Ormond Beach Police Department in 1996 as a community service officer. After attending the police academy, she was sworn in as a police officer in 1998. She served as a patrol officer and then detective before returning to the patrol division in 2002.

For the past few years, Rosenthal has taken her K-9 partner, Savannah, on patrol. Rosenthal and Savannah were recognized last month by Sheriff Ben Johnson for support of the Northeast Narcotics Task Force.

Last year, Rosenthal made 47 arrests, wrote more than 400 citations, and confiscated thousands of dollars worth of cocaine, marijuana and other types of drugs. Over the past year, she has maintained one of the highest levels of traffic and drunk driving enforcement at the Ormond Police Department and has been recognized by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, the Institute of Police Technology and Management, and the Ormond Beach Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.

"Lisa is one of those individuals who gives you a full day's work and tries to do what's right," said Assistant Police Chief Michael Longfellow. "The honor is well deserved."