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City welcomes diverse firefighter class

Rochester Mayor Thomas S. Richards, City Council President Lovely A. Warren and Fire Chief Salvatore Mitrano III welcomed 21 new firefighters to the Rochester Fire Department at the Rochester Fire Academy graduation Friday.

The class is the most diverse of any in RFD history — minorities and women make up 57 percent of the class.

The recruitment was the result of a comprehensive campaign to improve diversity in the department, involving the administration and City Council with the support of 11 different city churches. A team of city firefighters visited job fairs, schools and colleges to recruit candidates for the academy. A multi-media campaign was launched to promote the benefits of a career in firefighting. The effort resulted in 924 people applying for the Civil Service exam in December 2011.

The ceremony featured the new firefighters taking the oath of office, a valedictory speech by Recruit Firefighter Jamie Groff and achievement awards to Recruit Firefighter Marcus Patterson.

The new firefighters will rotate through several fire companies over the next year, getting oriented to the RFD, honing their skills and participating in special operations training.