Longtime Denton Fire Department employee Laura Behrens has been appointed fire marshal, the first woman to hold the role for the city.
Behrens’ appointment follows that of Rick Jones, who retired from the position earlier this year.
As fire marshal, Behrens will investigate fires, conduct fire safety inspections and oversee the department’s public education efforts. Education includes sending firefighters to meet with schoolchildren and talk about safety concepts, and it also includes identifying a community issue and developing a program to address it, she said.
A marshal’s investigation, for example, isn’t just to determine the cause or criminality of a fire, but to check for unsafe practices.
“It’s important to both identify the cause and find a solution,” Behrens said.
Since 2003, Behrens has served as the department’s administration manager. From 1999 to 2003, she was a public education officer in the fire prevention section.
She holds certifications as a fire inspector and arson investigator. She is also a master peace officer.
Behrens graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration. She previously served as a community supervision officer for Denton County and a civilian duty officer for the Denton Police Department.
In a prepared statement, Fire Chief Ross Chadwick said Behrens brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to the position.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.