A former spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been named public information director for the Los Angeles Fire Department in a sign the interim fire chief is trying to make the department more accessible when it comes to the release of public information.
Peter Sanders served as deputy mayor for communication in the Villaraigosa Administration. He currently serves as a public affairs officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and is a former paramedic and journalist.
"I am very pleased to be able to bring Peter onto the LAFD team in this new role," said acting Chief James Featherstone. "His background in public affairs, journalism, and as a paramedic, perfectly positions him to help tackle both the daily and strategic communications needs of the department."
The appointment comes two months after the LAFD implemented -- and then quickly reversed -- a policy that would have withheld all information on injuries and fatalities at emergencies. Had the policy remained in place, fire department officials would have been unable to give out any information on 911 calls that included a request for medical assistance. Hours after City Hall officials learned of the policy, it was reversed. (A similar policy was implemented and reversed in March of 2012.)
Featherstone was named interim fire chief in 2013 following the retirement of Brian Cummings. Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he's conducting a nationwide search for the LAFD's next chief.