Former fire chief Ned Pettus named Safety Director

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After a six-month search, Mayor Andrew Ginther has announced the appointment of former Columbus fire chief Ned Pettus as Director of Public Safety.

The appointment is effective August 1.

In 2002, Pettus was appointed as the chief of the Columbus Division of Fire, the first African-American to hold the position. He retired in 2012.

Pettus replaces George Speaks, who has been director since 2014. Speaks will return to his former job as Deputy Director.

“Director Pettus was born and raised in Columbus then went on to serve the city for more than 30 years in the Division of Fire,” said Mayor Ginther. “I can think of no one more qualified and more knowledgeable about what the Department of Public Safety needs to carry it into the future.”

Pettus graduated from Linden McKinley High School. He holds a doctoral degree in human and organization systems as well as a master’s degree in human development from the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. In addition, he earned a master’s in science administration from Central Michigan University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Capital University.

“I am grateful to Mayor Ginther for the opportunity to serve in this position at such a challenging time. I look forward to building relationships, bridges and understanding between all people and neighborhoods,” said Pettus. “I feel this was a calling, and I had to answer.”

The official announcement will be made at 2pm at Linden McKinley STEM Academy.Reporter Ted Hart is following this story and will have the latest coming up on NBC4 at 5 and 6. For more stories right now, grab our free news app for iPhone or Android.What others are clicking on:

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