Thursday, May 26, 2022

City firefighters mark promotions, new hires

City officials were on hand to congratulate recently promoted Westland
Fire Department first responders and welcome new members to the force.
Bella, the arson dog, also received a new rank during the ceremonies.
Warm applause greeted the announcements of promotions and staff additions during a ceremony earlier this month honoring the City of Westland Fire Department.

Promotions included that of Capt. Jeremy Wright who began his career with the Westland Fire Department in 2013 after spending nine years with the Lincoln Park Fire Department. To celebrate his promotion, wife Valarie Wright was on hand to attach the pin denoting his new rank for her husband.

Also promoted was Sgt. David Polite who has been with the Westland Fire Department since 2011. Previously serving as a Paramedic IC, Fire Instructor 1 and 2, Polite spent nine years with Farmington Hills and Livonia fire departments. With a degree in Fire Science from Schoolcraft College, his wife, Rebecca, pinned Polite during the ceremony. 

The ceremony also formally welcomed new Firefighter Camden Ramirez who has joined the department. Enrolled at Dorsey College for paramedics, Ramirez has previous experience with the Lyon Township Fire Department. During the ceremony, Ramirez was pinned by his father, Eric Ramirez. 

Also welcomed to Westland was Firefighter Arron Tokarski. He is the son of Westland Fire Department Battalion Chief Mitch Tokarski. The new firefighter attended the Schoolcraft College Fire Academy and studied EMT to Paramedic at Dorsey. His father proudly pinned his son's official identification during the ceremony.

Battalion Chief Bella, the Westland Fire Department arson dog, also received a special honor. Considered paramilitary, the Westland Fire Department ranks service dogs as NCOs, or non-commissioned officers, and are given a rank higher than their handler just as is done in the military K9. Bella, who became a part of the department in June 2017, has risen to the rank of Battalion Chief and is the first accelerant detection canine in Western Wayne County with the ability to detect and analyze odors at a level 40 times greater than her human counterparts. Capt. Jeff Stobbe honored Bella with her pinning during the ceremony. 

“We always look forward to promoting within our ranks while also bringing new members aboard to continue the tradition and pride in the fire services,” said Fire Chief James Morris. “Our arson dog, Bella, also plays a major role in helping to keep the community safe.”