I am both humbled and excited to begin my service as the Chair of the BCOC.

During my time as Chair, I will honor the past while working hand in hand with each of you to move boldly into the future. The strong shoulders upon which we stand have laid the foundation from which we will continue to prepare our members for tomorrow and whatever the next challenge may be. To this end, our annual Educational Symposium and Conference is an integral piece. Once again, this year brought the best and brightest from across the profession together to share expertise, information, and experiences. We were blessed to have partnerships that continue to provide CEU’s and NFA certificates for approved courses. It was a beautiful time together that will serve to fuel our journey to a bigger and better 2023. Next year, the BCOC will be heading back to the Sea. Make your plans to join us in Ft. Lauderdale the week of July 9th.


But, there are challenges ahead as firefighter demographics show. A 2019 NFPA U.S. Fire Department study indicates that 8.5% of career firefighters were African American. To leave the BCOC and the profession better than we found it, we must work to reclaim ground that has been lost over the last half century. Together we can, and together we shall.


You can continue to help by:

• Completing your attendee surveys
• Being an advertisement for the BCOC
• Joining the BCOC
• Using your talents to advance the BCOC
• Staying engaged


Over the coming months I ask that you stay tuned for learning and networking opportunities. If there is anyway that I or any member of the board can be of service, please do not hesitate to reach out.


God bless' and “Keep on lifting as you climb.”


Very Respectfully,
Joe Dixon, BCOC Chair

Greetings friends and colleagues!


A Message From Our Chair


BCOC 2023 Conference and Symposium

July 8 - July 16, 2023

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

Fort Lauderdale, FL 

Our New Chief Fire Officer Designees

It is with great pleasure that we recognize and congratulate these outstanding professionals.  This is a voluntary designation program designed to enhance the professionalism of chief officers while promoting excellence in the fire and emergency service profession.  Designees meet various competencies and demonstrate their personal knowledge, skills, and ability for consideration. The Chief Fire Officer Designation (CFOD) is a mark of distinction within the profession. For more information, please see below:

Credentialing Overview - Center for Public Safety Excellence


Many Thanks to Fire Chief Toni Washington (Decatur Georgia) and Chief Hezedean Smith (Charlottesville Virginia) for the great work they do with the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

They are paving a way for a marked increase of minority designees.   


1.  Top Left:  Carrie Edwards-Clemons serves as Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Flint Michigan.

2. Top Right: Latosha Clemons serves as Chief of the Forest Park Ga Fire Department

3. Bottom Left: Ceresa Speight serve as a Battalion Chief in Howard County, Maryland

Member Highlights

Charlottesville Virginia is currently seeking a fire chief. Dr. Hezedean Smithis taking his talents South. After an extensive search and assessment, he has been named as the incoming Chief of Polk County FL. Chief Smith started work as Charlottesville’s fire chief December 1, 2020, after serving in the Orlando, FL fire department for 24 years. Polk County, which is the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area, is just southwest of Orlando. While Charlottesville is losing a visionary leader, his time at the helm has raised expectations and produced unprecedented change. Department diversity increased during Smith's tenure. Of the 41 firefighters he hired, 10 are women and 36 have an associate degree or higher.  African American firefighters increased by 17 percent and Hispanic firefighters increased by four percent. Chief Smith also promoted the first African American Battalion Chief in the Department's History and has positioned an African American as interim Chief. Well done chief Smith! We look forward to the great things to come as you move to the next chapter. 

Our Sponsors and Partners
(click on logo to visit partner website)
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BCOC Learning and Networking at the

2022 Educational Symposium and Annual Meeting 

Student in Library


Fire Academy


Profiles in Leadership

Dr. Hezedean Smith