On February 16, 2012, Mayor Emanuel appointed José A. Santiago as the Fire Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department. As Fire Commissioner, Santiago manages nearly 5,000 sworn members and an annual budget of over 560 million dollars. He has made the Chicago Fire Department a leader in the fire service by implementing several best practices, including sweeping changes to the incident command policies. These and other safety reforms established the Chicago Fire Department as an innovator in high-rise life safety.Santiago joined the Chicago Fire Department in 1979.
Previous to his position of Fire Commissioner, Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Santiago as Executive Director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications on March 4, 2010
Santiago also served in the United States Marine Corp for over 33 years, both in active duty and the reserves. He worked his way through the ranks from Private to Commanding Officer. He served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University.