Mayor Richard M. Daley today named Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Jose A. Santiago as the new Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), which is responsible for coordinating the City’s delivery of police, fire and emergency medical services and planning for issues related to Homeland Security.
Santiago, 54, joined the fire department in 1979 and since 2008 has served as Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner for Fire Suppression and Rescue.
“When our Emergency Communications Center opened in 1995, it was considered the most advanced in the nation. And it still is, thanks to continuing upgrades that incorporate the most advanced technology and to solid leadership,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
“Through his experience and his management approach, Jose is the right person to run OEMC and to carry out the broad strategy we have used since September 11, 2001 of bringing all our city resources together to keep the people of our city and our region safe,” the Mayor said.
Santiago joined the Fire Department in 1979 as a firefighter after three years in the U.S. Marines. Over a long career on active duty and in the reserves, he was decorated for his service both in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm.
Daley said Santiago has a long list of accomplishments in the department, including four years in charge of the Fire Academy during which time he carried out a major re-structuring of operations.
This included everything from establishing new long-term goals to new budgeting and training procedures to incorporating new technology.
“He has shown a great ability to work with others and I have told him how important that skill is to the head of OEMC, because to keep Chicago secure during these uncertain times, we must work constantly and closely with the federal government and with state, regional and local agencies,” Daley said.
“We share our technology and our equipment and our ideas freely with other communities as part of our regional commitment to safety and security, and Jose Santiago has the background and the ability to help us carry out that commitment,” he said.
Santiago grew up in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood and graduated from Loop College of the City Colleges of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University.
The appointment requires the approval of the City Council.