Chief Leland graduates fire chief training

Leland one of 34 graduates from Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program 

Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Leland graduated from Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program on Jan. 27. — Rich Saltzberg

On Jan. 27, Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Leland graduated from the Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program, one of 34 fire officers to do so. The program is provided by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services in Stow in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Boston. The graduation ceremony was held in Stow at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

“The Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program helps high-level fire officers improve their ability to lead and manage their departments,” a Department of Fire Services post states. The training involved research papers.  

“It was an affirmation of a lot of hard work and long nights to complete the course curriculum,” Chief Leland said of his graduation. “It was a very proud moment for me.” 

Chief Leland was appointed Tisbury’s fire chief in May of 2020, just ahead of Chief John Schilling’s retirement, and formally hired the day Schilling retired. Chief Leland had been with the Tisbury Fire Department for nine years and prior to that he was with the Oak Bluffs Fire Department for 2½  years. 

Chief Leland’s fellow Vineyard fire officers have indicated the accomplishment is significant. 

“The ever-changing and increasingly complex job of managing a fire department is no longer the job of someone who has the most seniority or is the most popular or even the ‘best firefighter,’ Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Nelson Wirtz emailed. “It takes a depth of knowledge about personnel management, municipal finance, communication, public speaking, and many others. This does not include the tactical and strategic skills of managing all types of emergency scenes. The modern fire chief must be equipped with comprehensive tools to develop training, budgets, officer development, disciplinary action and much more. Some of this can come from great mentors and experience, but most comes from formal education. The Chief Fire Officer program is formal chief fire officer training offered by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy that develops in these chief’s and deputies some of those tools. It is also a venue to discuss specific issues and how others have successfully, or not dealt, with them. During the program professional relationships are built that are invaluable for the rest of a fire officers’ career, other officers to bounce questions or concerns off of and whose council is trusted and specific. Chief Leland has made a great stride to continue his efforts to increase his skills and further professionalize himself and the Tisbury Fire Department. It is exciting for them and for the Fire -EMS service on the Island. The tide raises all boats.  Congratulations to him and the Town of Tisbury!”

“Congratulations to Chief Leland for completing the fire chief accreditation program,” West Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Pachico texted. “It is a very important step in all Massachusetts fire chiefs’ careers. It instills a common goal and objectives for us all. People do not realize how much time and effort goes into completing these milestones to better ourselves and our professions to serve the public in the best capacity we can.”

“As the current Director of the Dukes County Technical Rescue Team, I would like to congratulate Chief Leland on his graduation from the Chief Fire Officer Management course,” West Tisbury Fire Lt. Brynn Schaffner emailed. “I have worked closely with Chief Leland for many years — starting off as just regular firefighters on this team. I have seen him grow into his current leadership position over time, moving up through the ranks at the Tisbury Fire Department. I have great respect for him and what he has accomplished even before his current graduation. We have both moved up through the Technical Rescue Team, and we have worked great together now leading the team. I am proud of his current accomplishment of graduating and finishing this course. I know this will not be the last course he takes to further his development. So, congratulations to you as chief, and good luck on any and all future endeavors.”

Program participants studied “a broad array of topics essential for effective public sector management,” a Department of Fire Services post states. “These include personal leadership styles, municipal finance, planning and budgeting, public information, behavioral health, contemporary legal issues, fire mobilization, executive leadership, intergovernmental relations, ethics and logic, human resources management, public speaking, and executive communications. Program participants underwent nearly 100 hours of classroom instruction led by subject matter experts, with considerable out-of-class reading and research as preparation.”