In 2015, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka launched his vision to consolidate Police, Firefighters, and Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security personnel under the newly created Department of Public Safety. The merger enhances public safety by making the operations of these essential services more efficient and effective. In 2022, Mayor Baraka tapped Fritz Fragé to serve as Newark’s Public Safety Director. He oversees nearly 2,000 city employees, including 1,100 police officers, 650 firefighters, and over 350 civilian employees, all dedicated to serving the residents and visitors of the City of Newark with the utmost in public safety excellence.

Meet the Leaders

Fire Chief Rufus Jackson

Rufus L. Jackson is the Fire Chief of the City of Newark’s Fire Division. A Newark native and a 21-year veteran firefighter, Chief Jackson began his career in 1995, quickly moving up the ranks to Arson Detective in 2002, to Captain and Executive Officer of the Newark Arson Squad in 2004, and a Captain / Company Officer in 2006.

Chief Jackson was appointed Battalion Fire Chief, Incident Commander/Operations Chief in 2009. Chief Jackson was named Chief of Staff to the Fire Director in 2010. He was appointed Deputy Fire Chief in 2012 and became one of the youngest Newark Fire Division Deputy Chiefs in the history of the department at the age of 39. Eager to learn all the duties and responsibilities of his profession, Chief Jackson was reassigned as a Field Tour Commander from 2013 to 2017. The year 2022 marks his 27th year of providing public service to the people of the City of Newark.

Jackson honed his stellar management and leadership skills through a successful blend of service, training and education.  A graduate of Rutgers University’s New Jersey Certified Public Managers Program, Dillard University’s Executive Management Institute, and at Dale Carnegie’s Step Up to Leadership Training, Jackson has acquired an impressive list of certifications in Fire Suppression, Emergency Incidents, and Catastrophe training, including: the University of Nevada’s Flammable Liquid Fire Training; the State of New Jersey’s Hazardous Technician Training; New Jersey Division of Fire Safety’s National Incident Management System Training and the International Association of Fire Fighters Frontline Safety Training. He is also a past Vice President of the Deputy Fire Chiefs Association.


Chief Jackson also serves as State Certified Level 1 instructor, Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) instructor, and is currently Vice President of New Jersey’s Deputy Fire Chief’s Association. Through his commitment to community service, Chief Jackson also volunteers his time as a mentor and member at Essex County/Newark’s Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters and as a mentor in the Big Pictures Mentoring Program.


Chief Jackson and his wife, Sharaw, have been married for 19 years. They are the parents of two daughters, Miyah and Morgan Jackson. He is the proud son of his parents, Arneilia Jackson-Simpson of Newark, who worked for the City of Newark for 34 years in the municipal court. His father is Joseph Simpson, a retired Newark Police Officer, who retired in 1995 after 25 years of service.

Meet the Leaders

Deputy Chief Dean Gatti

Deputy Chief Dean Gatti is the Newark Fire Division’s Chief of Operations. He joined the Fire Division in June 1996 and was initially assigned to Ladder 1, which was located across from the Prudential Center on Mulberry Street before moving to Orange Street. In May of 2006, Deputy Chief Gatti was promoted to Captain and later to Battalion Chief in April 2017. He was sworn in as Deputy Chief in July 2021 and holds specialized training in Haz-Mat response.

Meet the Leaders

Captain Kenya Dunham

Captain Kenya Dunham is Executive Officer of the Newark Fire Division. He joined the Division in March 2006 and was initially assigned to Ladder 5, located at 360 Clinton Avenue. He was promoted to Captain in June 2022 and is certified in Urban Search and Rescue.

Meet the Leaders

Battalion Chief Marshall Richardson

Battalion Chief Marshall Richardson joined the Newark Fire Division in February 2002. His first assignment was at Ladder 12, located at 420 Sanford Avenue. He was promoted to Captain in September 2016 and rose to the rank of Battalion Chief in January 2023. He is trained as an arson investigator and fire inspector and currently serves as the Newark Fire Division’s Chief of