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Smith to Retire as Ocean City Fire Chief; Walker Named as New Chief

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Fire Chief Jim Smith retires July 1.

Fire Chief James P. Smith announced his retirement as of July 1, and Deputy Chief Bernard F. Walker will succeed him as the next chief of the Ocean City Fire Department.

“I want to thank Chief Smith for his 30 years of service to Ocean City and wish him all the best in his retirement and his future endeavors,” Mayor Jay Gillian said. “I’m proud that he helped the Ocean City Fire Department earn the prestigious ISO Class 1 rating. He also helped restructure the department in a way that ensures the best leadership and training for all firefighters and the best protection for all residents.”

Walker is a 19-year veteran of the Ocean City Fire Department who was named deputy chief in 2020. He has extensive training and multiple professional certifications. A 1995 graduate of Ocean City High School and 1999 graduate of Rutgers University, Walker is married to Rachel and has two children, Lea and Joseph.

The search process included three strong candidates, each of them a deputy chief in the Ocean City Fire Department.

“While not an easy decision, I feel Chief Walker best represents the vision and values to help take the department into the future,” Gillian said. “Our leadership of the Fire Department is in excellent hands.”

Deputy Fire Chief Bernie Walker will become the new chief.