The Chicago Fire Department made a historic move Dec. 19 when it announced the groundbreaking news that Lynda Turner will become the first female to make the rank of Battalion Chief.
'I'm blessed and honored,' Turner said. Turner, 42, has been a Chicago firefighter for nearly 19 years.
'It's not only good news, its historic news,' Fire Commissioner CortezTrotter said.
Pleased with the diversity of the new Battalion Chief list, Trotter said that the CFD wants to continue to diversify by making sure that the new recruitment drive for next year's entrance exam will create a pool that more accurately reflects the makeup of the city.
Trotter said there is a still a lot of work to be done, but promised the CPD will commit to creating further change not only to diversify the department, but also to reduce overtime.
'We will redouble our efforts to mentor those in our rank and file,' he added.
Battalion Chiefs are promoted based on the outcome of a written and oral exam. The process of selection includes merit and rank order. Turner, along with 35 others, is expected to be promoted next month in rank order of her performance on the April exam.
According to Trotter, seven of the 162 people that sat for this year's exam were women. There are roughly 118 Battalion Chiefs in the CFD.
Turner grew up on the North Side, but currently resides in the South Side. She said her mother had a dream of her daughter being in uniform.
While high expectations of her will most likely exist, Turner said, she is not worried.
'It is a professional job,' she said. 'We are all firefighters at heart.'