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Town of Davie News and Announcements

Posted on: February 7, 2024

The Town of Davie Hosts a Transfer of Command Ceremony


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FEBRUARY 7, 2024


Fire Chief Downey is Retiring and will Transfer Command to Fire Chief Gonzalez

DAVIE, Fla. – The Town of Davie is hosting a traditional Transfer of Command Ceremony, the first of its kind in the community’s history, as current Fire Rescue Chief Julie Downey retires. 

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 2 p.m., the Town will host a formal ceremony transferring the command of the distinguished award-winning Davie Fire Rescue Department to its new Fire Rescue Chief, Jorge Gonzalez. The Ceremony will occur at Davie Fire Rescue Station 86, 14651 SW 14th Street. Please RSVP by Monday, February 26, 2024, at 6 p.m. to confirm your attendance as space is limited.

The Transfer of Command Ceremony symbolizes the authority and command change between two fire rescue officers. The ceremony will include a transfer of the fire rescue symbolic items, including the axe, helmet, and ceremonial trumpet from the outgoing Chief to the incoming Chief.  

In May 2016, Davie Town Administrator Richard J. Lemack appointed Chief Julie Downey as Davie’s new fire chief, the first female to serve in the capacity in Davie and Broward County. Chief Downey has an extensive public safety career, serving for over 23 years at Sunrise Fire Rescue until she joined Davie Fire Rescue in 2004, where she excelled in her field. 

Throughout her tenure with the Town, she has received numerous awards, including Florida Fire Chief of the Year, Career Fire Chief of the Year, Paramedic Lifetime Achievement, Fire Service Executive Safety Award, and induction into the EMS Hall of Fame. 

Chief Downey also challenged her team to excel in their respective fields, and under her tutelage, her Command Staff and the department received numerous awards, including the Heart Safe Community Award, EMS Innovator of the Year, EMS Educators of the Year, 2022 Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, Inspector of the Year and Plans Examiner of the Year awards.  

“I’ve had the pleasure to see Chief Downey work her way through the ranks,” said Davie Mayor Judy Paul. “She’s never backed down from any challenge or role within Davie Fire Rescue – she’s served as our Emergency Manager, introduced and successfully implemented the Stop the Bleed Program and the #SaferBy4 swim and sleep initiatives, and led the department to become one of the most recognized throughout the country. Assistant Fire Rescue Chief Jorge Gonzalez has an impeccable work ethic and is a leading figure in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field. His resourcefulness and hard work have contributed to several successful Davie EMS programs and initiatives. While I am sad to see Chief Downey go, I know she’s created a strong foundation on which our new fire chief will continue to build and expand upon.”

Chief Jorge Gonzalez is an accomplished individual in his own right. He has over 36 years of dedicated experience in fire and emergency medical services. Chief Gonzalez’s career began in 1988 in the City of Margate and joined the Davie Fire Rescue Department in 2004. He currently serves as the Assistant Fire Rescue Chief. 

Beyond his operational roles, Chief Gonzalez has been a key figure in EMS education for over 25 years. His impact in the industry was recognized with the 2019 Innovator of the Year award, and in 2020, he received the prestigious Fire Chief Donald DiPetrillo Lifetime Achievement Award. Continuing his impressive journey, the Florida Department of Health honored Chief Gonzalez as the 2021 EMS Educator of the Year. His commitment to excellence and innovative initiatives makes him a highly respected figure in the fire and emergency medical services community.

      Portrait of J. Downey                                Portrait of J. Gonzalez

                Fire Chief Julie Downey                                 Assistant Fire Chief Jorge Gonzalez

 High-resolution photos available upon request. Media Outlets interested in attending, please contact [email protected] by February 20, 2024. 

About Davie Fire Rescue Department:

The Davie Fire Rescue Department has been proudly serving our community since 1972 and the Town of Southwest Ranches since 2012. The ISO Class 1-rated department provides fire rescue services to over 114,000 residents, and over 5,000 businesses across a 48-square-mile area. The department currently operates seven fire rescue stations ensuring 24/7 coverage. The Fire Rescue Department is dedicated to responding to current emergencies and maintaining the skills required to prevent and manage fires, provide emergency medical care, and educate our community about health and safety matters. The department is a full-service professional organization committed to minimizing risks to life and property in our community. 


Media Contacts:

Leona Henry, Intergovernmental Affairs Manager

Office: 954-797-1035


Ariana Briceño, Public Relations Coordinator

Office: 954-797-1190


Camryn Tippetts, Public Relations Assistant 

Office: 954-797-1102

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