Raleigh Fire Chief To Unveil New Diversity Plan

Right now, 12 percent of the department's firefighters are black, compared to 30 percent of the city's population


Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath stepped into his job earlier in February with some boots and positions to fill. One group hopes McGrath will use the opportunity to change the racial makeup of the entire department.

"I'm committed to fairness and inclusiveness. The fire department is an arm of the government and the government is supposed to include everyone," McGrath said.

The International Association of Black Professional Firefighters sued the Philadelphia Fire Department several years ago in an effort to get more blacks in the ranks. Now, the group is trying to steer recruiting in Raleigh.

Right now, 12 percent of the department's firefighters are black, compared to 30 percent of the city's population.

McGrath, who worked in Philadelphia for 30 years, admits the department should do better to mirror the community, and he said he welcomes the help.

"If they can help us become a better department and more inclusive department and fulfill our mission, I'm willing to listen," he said.

McGrath will present his plan before a city budget committee meeting scheduled for 11 a.m.

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Reporter: Megan Hughes

Photographer: Jamie Munden

OnLine Producer: Kamal Wallace

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