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Laguna Beach selects Niko King as new fire chief

Laguna Beach has named Niko King, a deputy fire chief in Sacramento, as the city's 20th fire chief.
(Courtesy of the city of Laguna Beach)

Niko King, the deputy fire chief of operations in Sacramento, has been selected to become the next fire chief of Laguna Beach, the city announced on Wednesday.

Laguna Beach had opened a search to find a new leader for its fire department after Fire Chief Mike Garcia made known his plans to retire.

King will begin working in his new post on Tuesday, July 5, and the public will have a chance to meet the new fire chief when he is sworn in at a ceremony at Council Chambers from 4 to 6 p.m. that same day.

The Northern California transplant is set to become the 20th fire chief in the history of Laguna Beach. He will earn an annual salary of $225,500.

“I am excited and honored to be selected to serve as the next chief for the Laguna Beach fire department,” King said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the great men and women of the fire department, the city’s leadership team, local residents and business owners in continuing to ensure the department carries out its mission at the highest level.”

Laguna Beach has seen wildfire activity this year, most notably with the Emerald fire that put residents of Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove on high alert. The Coastal fire resulted in some evacuations, the damage from the blaze occurring to properties in Laguna Niguel.

King has spent 28 years with the Sacramento fire department, the past six as deputy fire chief of operations. His service has also seen him take on the roles of assistant fire chief as a manager overseeing the training division (including a new recruit academy), a strike team leader, a Type III incident commander, and he was a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s incident support team.

King earned a master’s degree in homeland security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, a master’s degree in emergency services administration from Cal State Long Beach, and a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences, business administration and organizational communication from Cal State Sacramento.

“Chief King is recognized as a professional, dedicated, fair leader of high integrity who motivates others and has a great passion for the fire service,” Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis said in the city’s news release. “We are delighted to have Chief King continuing the fire department success in providing outstanding services to our community in fire prevention, fire protection and emergency management.”

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