Cathedral City's new Fire Chief, Michael Contreras, says he is intent on applying his decades of experience serving at Orange County Fire to his new role when he starts in November.
Contreras is coming into a city that officials say is growing rapidly. Cathedral City has ongoing construction of hundreds of new housing units and a big plan to build a commercial development across the street from Agua Caliente Casino.
Contreras says his strengths lie in his ability to connect with diverse communities; he says this ability will be integral to his new role.
“What I'm really hoping is that I can go out there and get integrated into the community, and really advance how people look at the fire department, said Contreras.
Contreras says he has been a longtime proponent of connecting with the people he serves. During his time at Orange County Fire, which serves twenty-three cities, Contreras managed the day-to-day operations of a diverse division servicing more than 247,000 residents
In addition to his experience, officials say Contreras has a forward-thinking mindset that makes him well-equipped to serve Cathedral City.
“He [Michael Contreras] seemed to have a strong ability to look towards the future. And that's what we're trying to do in Cathedral City is build a culture that is interested in building a strong and resilient community as we move into the future," said Charles McClendon, City Manager of Cathedral City
Contreras says one of the first orders of business is making sure that the fire department is matching the values of the changing community. He says he is intent on updating the fire department's strategic plan for the city.
"As growth has developed, maybe we're going to have to tweak that," said Contreras.
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