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Ronny Jack Coleman – Fire Chief of the Year
– 2020 –

Michael McLaughlin, Fire Chief
Cosumnes Fire Department

Fire Chief Michael McLaughlin has made a remarkable and lasting impact on the Cosumnes Community Services District since joining our Fire Department six years ago. He is innovative, collaborative, and most importantly, he always provides firefighters and administrative staff the support and resources they need to improve the Department and communities in which they serve.

During his career, Chief McLaughlin has held the rank of Reserve and Seasonal Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Firefighter/Paramedic, Engineer/Paramedic, Captain/Paramedic, Battalion Chief/Paramedic, Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Division Chief, and Deputy Fire Chief prior to being appointed to Fire Chief for the City of Merced in 2011. Chief McLaughlin joined the Cosumnes Fire Department in 2014 as Deputy Fire Chief and was named Fire Chief in 2017. Chief McLaughlin announced his retirement in December 2020, after his 32-year career.

In 2006 while serving as Assistant Fire Chief in Livermore, Calif., Chief McLaughlin graduated summa cum laude and as class valedictorian with a bachelor’s degree in Fire Department Administration from Cogswell Polytechnical College. Among other certifications, he has earned:

  • Executive Fire Officer certification from the National Fire Academy
  • Chief Officer certification
  • Incident Command, NIMS, and SEMS certification
  • Arrest, Search, and Seizure certifications from American River College
  • Firearms certification from American River College

Chief McLaughlin’s dedication, experience, and expertise distinctively qualify him to lead and manage the Cosumnes Fire Department. His development and management of the Standards of Coverage, Headquarters Assessments, Strategic Plan, Succession Management Plan, and Master Plans for Emergency Medical Services, Fire Prevention, and Training are key elements to the current and future success of the Department. While upholding responsibility for the Department’s $56 million budget and over 200 personnel, Chief McLaughlin focuses on the core purpose, mission, vision, and values of the organization. He cares deeply for the Cosumnes Fire family and works tirelessly to meet the needs of our diverse and growing community.

Chief McLaughlin takes a hands-on approach when reaching out to community stakeholders and he encourages personnel from all divisions to be highly involved in public education efforts. He is an active volunteer and fundraiser in the community and supports local chambers of commerce as well as youth and service groups. He serves as co-chair of the District’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, including the established Northeast California cohort of the Government Alliance on Racial Equity, and volunteers annually for the Firefighters Burn Institute Boot Drive where he led the Department to receive the Thirty Grand Club Award for raising over $37,000 for those in need.

Chief McLaughlin’s professional contributions at the regional, state, national and international levels have awarded him incredible leadership experience and networking opportunities and have provided a venue to advocate for important issues that directly affect the fire service. He currently serves as the California Fire Chiefs Association Legislative Director and Legislative Task Force Chairperson where he plays a key role in advocating for public safety, supporting and opposing legislative efforts, providing legislative education and information, and leading multiple teams of fire service professionals to sponsor/cosponsor legislation. As a result of Chief McLaughlin’s legislative efforts in the areas of behavioral health, community paramedicine, and wildland fire, Congressman Ami Bera proposed legislation to develop a national program focused on behavioral health for first responders.

With active participation on the Behavioral Health Committee, Sacramento Regional Fire Diversity & Equity Task Force, Joint Defense Council, and the Sacramento Regional Fire/EMS Communications Center Board of Directors, Chief McLaughlin has dedicated his efforts to provide resources for fire responders and their families, connect underrepresented and financially disadvantaged persons to the fire service, advocate for legal rights to provide emergency medical services in Sacramento County and to provide policy oversight to the regional Joint Powers Authority dispatch center. In addition, as the Western Fire Chiefs Association Wildfire Policy Committee Chair, Chief McLaughlin led the committee in the development and implementation of the initiative to mitigate the threat of wildland fires in the western states.

It comes as no surprise that Chief McLaughlin’s contributions and accolades are too many to name.  It’s clear that he has spent his entire career strengthening and advocating for the California Fire Service and meets all the criteria for this distinguished honor.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s 2020 Ronny J. Coleman Fire Chief of the Year – Fire Chief Michael McLaughlin of the Cosumnes Fire Department.

                                               Past Recipients

2020 Michael McLaughlin Cosumnes Fire Department
2019 David Rocha Alameda County Fire Department
2018 Jeff Carman Contra Costa Fire Protection District
2017 Mark Hartwig San Bernardino County Fire Protection District
2016 Tracey Hansen Cosumnes Fire Department
2013 Kurt P. Henke Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department
2012 Kenneth Woods III Humboldt Bay Fire Department
2011 Sheldon Gilbert Alameda County Fire Department
2010 Doug Williams/John Hawkins Rincon Valley Fire Department/Cal Fire – Riverside
2009 Kenneth Massucco Marin County Fire Department
2008 Tracy Jarman San Diego Fire & Rescue Department
2007 Kim Zagaris California Office of Emergency Services
2006 William McCammon Alameda County Fire Department
2005 Ray Quintanar U.S. Forest Service, Region 5
2004 Dave Carlson Riverside Fire Department
2003 Rick Martinez Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District
2002 Chip Prather Orange County Fire Authority
2001 Mike Thompson Culver City Fire Department
2000 Daniel Lydon Fremont Fire Department
2000 Robert E. Marcucci San Rafael Fire Department