I am proud to say that I have served on the Alton Fire Department for 28 years.

I worked my way up through the ranks and was appointed Deputy Chief under then Fire Chief Bernie Seibold. Prior to Chief Sebold’s retirement, I was asked by Mayor Brant Walker to accept the position of Fire Chief.

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It was not that I wanted to be Chief, but I was proud of Mayor Walker’s acknowledgment of my accomplishments within the fire department. I am also proud of the fact that I am the first African-American ever to be selected to serve as Deputy Chief and now Chief of the Alton Fire Department.

More importantly, when Mayor Walker asked me to serve as Chief, I knew it was because he had confidence in my abilities to lead the department based on my years of experience and demonstrated capabilities. It wasn't because of my race, my politics, or who I knew that Mayor Walker appointed me as Chief, it was because of who I am.

Our fire department personnel serving the City of Alton represent one of the most outstanding fire departments in the State of Illinois. In January 2017, with the support of Mayor Walker, we were able to start the process of providing ambulance service within the City of Alton. We purchased two new Spartan 1500 GPM pumper trucks to help replace an aging fleet, logged in over 11,000 training hours in order to stay prepared for all emergencies and were able to obtain four firefighters through the SAFER Grant which the department applied for.

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Together we have accomplished much and I intend to continue that tradition and try every day to improve our department. I appreciate Mayor Walker's confidence in me and I would like to thank Mayor Walker and the City Council for their support.

- Jesse Jemison

Chief, Alton Fire Department

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