Director Ned Pettus Jr., Ph.D. was appointed the Director of
the Department of Public Safety on August 1, 2016. Director Pettus is excited to be back in a
position within the public safety spectrum, which he describes as his passion
and one that will allow him to make a difference.
Pettus is a lifelong resident of Columbus, graduating from
Linden McKinley High School. He joined
the Columbus Division of Fire in 1977 as a firefighter and rose through the
ranks, being appointed Fire Chief in 2002.
In his 10 years as Chief, he oversaw a budget of $217 million, and a
growing division of 1,550 personnel.
Pettus’ career achievements while Chief included leading the Division in
achieving one of the first international accreditations by the Commission on
Fire Accreditation International in the United States, being recognized as one
of the world’s highest regarded models.
He overcame challenges while reducing overtime by 25%, reducing
firefighter injuries by 56%, conducting an extensive overhaul of technology and
overseeing the building of a new fire training center, adding a new firehouse
and replacement of three other fire stations.
After 9/11, he focused on improved communications and strengthening the
Division’s hazmat and bomb squads, directing homeland security funding to
increase the capability of both.
After his retirement in 2012, Director Pettus was sought out
for his expertise through consultation, assisting numerous fire departments
across the nation with assessments, efficiencies and effectiveness. He also was an adjunct faculty instructor at
Over his career, Pettus obtained a bachelor’s degree, two
master’s degrees and most recently received his Ph.D. in Human and Organizational
Systems from the Fielding Graduate University in California. In addition, he completed the prestigious
Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government
Certification. Pettus has written
numerous articles and presentations and holds affiliations with many fire
related associations. He was named the
International Fire Chief’s Association “Metro Fire Chief of the Year” in 2009
and earned numerous other honors.