Rich Sessler has become Redlands’ fourth fire chief in as many years.
He had been in the interim role since the previous chief, Jim Topoleski, retired in December 2021, and also filled in after former chiefs Jeff Frazier and Nathan Cooke left.
Sessler “has been extensively involved in the development of the department from his first day on the floor,” department officials posted on social media on Monday, March 21. Sessler has “excellent relationship-centered leadership skills” and his education — a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration and a masters in management from University of Redlands — “are just a few of the traits and skills that he brings to his position.”
The new chief joined the department in 2005. He started in this most recent role on Monday. Previously he had been a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, where he served on elite hotshot crews.
In 2012, he was named the department’s Firefighter of the Year.
“Without question,” the department continued in its Facebook post, “Chief Sessler’s vision, knowledge, work ethic and leadership will allow your Redlands Firefighters to serve the community of Redlands at the highest available standard.”