Ken Sharp, retired West Pierce Fire & Rescue fire chief, is South Sound 911’s first deputy director of fire services, Executive Director Andrew Neiditz announced. The interim appointment, effective Dec. 1, marks a significant, official step toward the merging of fire/EMS dispatch services under South Sound 911, as directed by voters in 2011.

“It is with great satisfaction that we welcome Ken to help us form the fire services division,” Neiditz said. “There is significant work ahead to integrate fire and EMS dispatch services, but with Ken’s proven record of leadership, planning and partnership, we look forward to a smooth and productive transition.”

In addition to his fire/EMS leadership experience, Sharp brings with him a skill in navigating public safety mergers and a thorough understanding of South Sound 911. As the Lakewood Fire Department fire chief, he successfully merged the Lakewood and University Place Fire Departments into what is now West Pierce Fire & Rescue (WPFR). Working alongside county and municipal leaders, Sharp was also instrumental in bringing Proposition 1 to voters in 2011’s general election; its successful passage created South Sound 911.

“I’m excited to be a part of this collaborative effort and looking forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead,” Sharp said.

After a nearly 36-year career in fire/EMS, Sharp retired as WPFR Fire Chief in March 2013. He will serve as South Sound 911’s deputy director of fire services in a part-time interim capacity until a permanent hire is made.