Ned Pettus Jr.

Public Safety Director's Office

77 North Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Office: (614) 645-8210
Fax: (614) 645-8268
Office Hours:
Week Days 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM 
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Director of Public Safety
Ned Pettus Jr., Ph.D.

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 Franklin University. 

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.