Mayor Keffer Swears In Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer

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Mayor Keffer Swears In Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer

Monday, September 21, 2020

Video of the Swearing In at Cardington-Stonehurst Fire Company with welcoming remarks from William Norris, Deputy Chief and President of the IAFF Local 2493.


UPPER DARBY, PA - Today, Upper Darby Township Mayor Barbarann Keffer swore in Derrick Sawyer as the new Fire Department Chief. Sawyer brings more than three decades of experience in fire service to Upper Darby.

“We are thrilled to add a well-regarded leader like Derrick to lead our fire department. This was an extensive nationwide process and we are happy to get this result,” said Mayor Barbarann Keffer. “Derrick has proven results as the head of one of America’s largest fire departments, and has also been an effective leader and instructor to firefighters throughout this nation.”

“Chief Sawyer is a distinguished leader in public safety, and has always shown a commitment to service,” said Tim Boyce, Director of Emergency Services for Delaware County. “Mayor Keffer and Township Council recognize the importance of well-qualified leaders who are dedicated to maintaining the health and welfare of the entire community. I know Chief Sawyer will bring that vision to Upper Darby.”

"With the addition of Derrick Sawyer, a proven fire service executive, exciting times are ahead for the Upper Darby Fire Department,” said Alex Brown, Chair of the Civil Service Commission. “We welcome Chief Sawyer and look forward to partnering with him in the future!"

Sawyer has spent the last two years as Fire Director for Trenton Fire & Emergency Services. Sawyer came to Trenton after nearly two years as a Retrofit Specialist for the National Fire Sprinkler Association, identifying high risk areas and working to reduce fire risk in those communities.

The majority of Sawyer’s career, however, was spent in the Philadelphia Fire Department, the nation’s fifth largest fire department. Sawyer served for more than two decades as a firefighter before becoming a Battalion Chief in 2007, overseeing seven fire companies citywide. As a Deputy Chief, Sawyer oversaw Philadelphia’s Fire Prevention Division, which recorded the lowest civilian fatality rate in history under his watch in 2012. As Deputy Commissioner of Technical Services, Sawyer oversaw five units, including the Fire Marshal’s Office and Fire Communications Center, before transitioning to Deputy Commissioner of Operations, leading multiple divisions and nearly a dozen battalions. Sawyer became Fire Commissioner in 2014, and served in that role for two years before being replaced.

Sawyer will be replacing Interim Chief Michael Gove who plans to retire at the end of this month after decades of service to Upper Darby Township.