Indianapolis Fire Dept. Chief Brian Sanford retiring; battling ALS

IFD Chief Brian Sanford is retiring.
Published: .
Updated: .
Indianapolis Fire Department Chief Brian Sanford, who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 2011, says he's retiring from his current position to take on a role within the Department of Public Safety.

Sanford, 57, has been fire chief since 2008. He will remain in that role until a successor takes over, and then will become Chief of Staff for the Department of Public Safety Director’s Office.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, gradually preventing mobility. IFD says Sanford has maintained a full schedule despite knowing the battle that lies ahead. 

To learn more about local ALS support, click here.

Sanford is married, with three sons and six grandchildren.

“Chief Sanford dedicated 30 years of his life to protecting the people of this great city. His strong leadership, calm demeanor, and constant focus on the best interests of his fellow firefighters will carry on at IFD for years to come. I am pleased the people of Indianapolis will continue to benefit from Sanford’s wisdom and expertise as Chief of Staff in the Department of Public Safety," said Mayor Greg Ballard.

“I am proud of the work Brian has done over the last six years as Chief of IFD,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “His talents run far beyond his service as a firefighter and I am excited to have him join the DPS executive staff.”

Sanford praised IFD and its firefighters, along with city leadership.

“In Indianapolis, we are fortunate to have a Mayor, City Council and a Union that values our fire and EMS services. It is because of this teamwork, that we get to come to work every day and do what we love. We have state of the art training and equipment but it’s our people who make the difference. I am humbled and honored to have been an Indianapolis Firefighter for over 30 years, and to have served as Fire Chief," said Sanford.

About Brian Sanford
Chief Sanford began his fire service career at the age of 27 with the Warren Township Fire Department. He rose through the ranks and ultimately was appointed Fire Chief. He served as Warren Fire Chief for eight years. In 2007 Warren Township FD merged into the IFD and in July 2008 Brian Sanford was named Chief of the Indianapolis Fire Department. In December of 2013 Sanford completed 30 years as a firefighter in Indianapolis.

“Over the last 30 years I have been blessed to serve this great city and surround myself with a remarkable array of hardworking and talented people dedicated to the efforts of public safety,” said Sanford. “I am grateful to all those who have supported me throughout my career and look forward to assisting Director Riggs meet his vision for Indianapolis Public Safety going forward.”

As Chief of Staff, Sanford will assist Riggs and Deputy Director Valerie Washington in the oversight of the eight divisions that comprise DPS which, in addition to IFD, include Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indianapolis EMS, Animal Care and Control, Division of Homeland Security, Public Safety Communications, Citizen’s Police Complaint Office and Mayor’s Office of Re-Entry.

Sanford will provide a broad range of expertise in strategic and administrative services and assist the division heads in monitoring the use of budgets, resources, project management and priority programs within each division and throughout DPS.

A selection process to secure the new IFD Chief will be established by Riggs during the next few weeks.