UPPER MARLBORO, MD -- Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department Chief Lawrence H. Sedgwick, Jr. announced today he will retire.
County Executive Jack Johnson today named Eugene A. Jones, a retired Fire/EMS Department Major, as acting chief. Chief Sedgwick will serve as fire chief until Friday and his retirement is effective March 6.
"Chief Sedgwick brought innovation and new ideas to the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department. We appreciate his 27 years of service," said Vernon Herron, Public Safety Director. "We wish him the best in the future." "Eugene Jones has a wealth of experience working in several capacities throughout the Fire/EMS Department and the Office of Homeland Security," Herron said. "He is currently working on the emergency response plan for all first responders in Prince George's County. He has tremendous leadership skills and will maintain the high caliber of services our residents have grown to expect."
Sedgwick has served the residents of Prince George's County for 27 years. Since joining the Fire/EMS Department as a recruit Firefighter in July of 1982 Sedgwick has served at several positions within the Department while working his way through the ranks up to his appointment and confirmation as Fire Chief in March of 2005.
Jones, of Beltsville, has 25 years of fire service experience and has a proven record of emergency management and homeland security experience. He now serves at Exercise and Training Officer of the Office of Homeland Security and served as a Major in the Fire/EMS Department's Office of Professional Standards. He has more than 10 years of experience as a mediator. He is 1982 graduate of Prince George's Community College and a 1978 graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School.
During his tenure, Sedgwick instilled a philosophy of "Prevention before Response" in all the members of the Fire/EMS Department. His philosophy was to prevent an emergency from ever occurring by educating and working with the members of the community in fire safety and injury prevention. Since the inception of this new mindset; residential fire fatalities have decreased dramatically during his tenure.
Among Sedgwick's many accomplishments are the construction of new Fire/EMS facilities in District Heights and Northview (Bowie), planning a new Fire/EMS facility in Landover (St. Josephs), instituting the Department's first Marine Division at the National Harbor and placing Fire Boat "Lawrence Woltz" in service, increasing the number of available basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) units, developed educational opportunities for Fire/EMS personnel at Prince George's Community College, purchased a fleet of 70 new ambulance/medic transport units in addition to new engines, ladder trucks, heavy duty rescue squads, mass casualty units and hazardous materials units as well as opened a wellness and fitness center for all members of the Department. Sedgwick also oversaw the arrest and conviction of two serial arsonists in April 2005 and August 2007.
Serving as the Fire Chief of one of the largest and busiest combination, volunteer and career, Fire/EMS Departments in the country for four years certainly has had its share of challenges and rewards. In reviewing his remarks to the County Council during his confirmation hearing in March 2005, the same statement can apply to his impending retirement, Sedgwick stated, "Being an employee of Prince George's County Government has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined." He continued saying, "While this moment in time is a remarkable event for me, I do not see it as a culmination of a career, but the beginning of another opportunity."