Leonard Thompson spent the first 35 years of his career with the Los Angeles Fire Department, which serves more than 4 million citizens over 471 square miles. He spent his last years as second in command of the department in the role of Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations. Thompson retired from the LAFD in 2010.
But retiring from public safety doesn’t seem to be in Thompson’s blood. Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District has tabbed Thompson to replace former Chief Frank Treanor, who retired from the RAFD in December 2016, after serving for 10 years.
This is just the latest example of his commitment to serve. After leaving the LAFD, Thompson moved to San Rafael, and became a member of that city’s fire commission, where he helped form a nonprofit foundation to provide financial support to the department. In 2015, he accepted the position of Chief of Petaluma Fire Department, and says that his recent agreement to also serve as part-time Chief for RAFPD is the ideal arrangement for everyone involved. Rancho Adobe maintains its independence, but increases its opportunities to join with Petaluma FD. These neighboring agencies already work jointly on many responses. Chief Thompson’s view of the future is managing six stations instead of three, and integrating the day-to-day operations in a way that benefits everyone.
“I believe everybody gets something good from this agreement,” Thompson said. “RAFPD gets the management oversight that they need, Petaluma Fire gets access to the first-class training facilities at Rancho Adobe, and I get the pleasure of working with another great team of firefighters and staff.”
When the firefighters learned of the need for a new chief, they proposed Thompson as a candidate to the Board of Directors, and he was accepted enthusiastically.
Union President Jimmy Bernal said, “The union members appreciate Chief Treanor for his hard work and achievements during his 10 years at RAFPD. We welcome Chief Thompson, and have complete confidence that he will be able to take this district to the next level. His impressive achievements and reputation are welcome at Rancho. We feel honored and motivated to work with Chief Thompson.”
“This is the second time in a row that we have had the good fortune to have someone with major city experience bring that capability to our district,” Rancho Adobe Director Mark Hemmendinger said. “First, Chief Treanor, with his years of leadership in the San Francisco Fire Department, and now Chief Thompson from LAFD.”
Chief Thompson officially began his expanded duties on March 2.