Rose named new West Memphis EMS Director
Former interim fire chief will be heading up city’s emergency management in new role
By JOHN RECH
West Memphis Assistant Fire Chief DeWayne Rose retired from his 21-year career with West Memphis Fire Department to take the lead position in a new city office. The move opened the way for new WMFD Fire Chief Barry Ealy to reshuffle leadership at the fire department. Mayor Marco McClendon installed Rose as the city’s first emergency manager. Job duties for the new position fell under a huge catch-all umbrella.
Rose assumes traditional EMS Director duties, along with charges to conduct city-related investigations like the one underway at the police department and write grant applications for the city.
Mayor Marco McClendon teased city council with the announcement during its first meeting of the year. The council created a position for grant writer last year that had gone unfilled. The mayor used that position to create the EMS manager position. Rose was set to report directly to the mayor. The pay range for the position started at $55,000 and topped at $75,000.
“I think you are really going to like who I appointed to write grants for the city,” said McClendon. “You all know him. He works hard and he has already written grants for the city.”
In addition to investigation and grant writing came a dozen traditional EMS responsibilities: Hazard assessment, response recommendations and organization topped the list. Rose was charged with coordinating resource sharing during a disaster along with analyzing responses after emergencies and disasters. The EMS Director creates and files operation plans with state agencies. Rose will assist in forming the annual police and fire department budgets. The mayor listed pandemic response and terrorist attacks strategizing under the position. Rose became the face of the city for conferences and meetings related to emergency management.
Rose had most recently served the city for six months as Interim Fire Chief after the death of Chief Dennis Brewer. Rose began his career in the fire service with the city of Marion in 1996. He started
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working for the West Memphis Fire Department in November of 2000, and was subsequently promoted to driver in April of 2005. Three year later Rose earned the rank of lieutenants. Chief Wayne Gately promoted Rose to Division Chief in the Spring of 2013. Rose ascended to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief under Chief Dennis Brewer immediately after the election of Mayor Marco McClendon in January of 2019. Rose retired from the department and hung up his uniform for the new civil service role for the city as EMS Director last week.
Rose shared his vision for the newly formed spot in McClendon’s administration, especially the role of helping the _re and police department structure annual budgets. Rose ran the budget process for the fore department this year.
“I think I will be a liaison between a lot of different departments to lend them a hand inn areas where I may have more expertise than they have,” said Rose. “For the investigation part of it, they’ll have someone from outside their departments that can provide factual information without any bias.”
Rose spoke about the basics in his role as emergency manager.
“My number one focus will be the emergency operation plan for the city,” said Rose. “It’s a document that needs to revisited every couple of years. So getting the document out and up to date as far as contacts is a _rst order of business.”
The coronavirus revealed planning needs at the city level. Rose was among those appointed to the mayor’s ‘dream team’ to pursue funding for pandemic related expenses and response plans.
“With the pandemic we are in the city has leaned on a lot of department heads,” said Rose. “The emergency management of_ce will streamline this. Everything can be sent through this one department.”
Rose expressed gratitude to the mayor for the new role and wished the new _re chief well.
“When the mayor sets up a new department like this and thought of me – I’m very grateful,” said Rose. “Obviously, the _re department has been dear to me my whole adult life. It’s bittersweet to be leaving, but I’m very grateful to him for having faith in me to lead the way. Chief Ealy has several positions open to move people in there for his administration and I hope for the best. We will continue to work closely together.”