For Kasey Beal, becoming Golden Fire Department’s chief was a dream that didn’t come true right away.
He interviewed for the job in 2018 and didn’t get it, but he kept in touch with the city. When the opportunity to become its deputy chief of operations opened in fall 2021, he took the job and moved to Golden.
He was named interim chief last fall, and in February, the city announced him as Golden’s next fire chief. He now leads GFD’s dozen paid staff members and about 55 volunteer firefighters.
Beal’s excited and ready to lead the department through what he called a “huge moment of change,” as GFD reevaluates its structuring, staffing needs, finances, and policies and procedures.
“This department has a long and proud history, and I want to add to it in a positive way,” Beal said Feb. 23. “ … I’m really happy and excited to be here.”
Beal has been a firefighter for more than 30 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in emergency services administration, is a paramedic and holds certifications for chief fire officer and executive fire administrator.
Before joining Golden, he helped lead a fire department in Surrey, England for two years. After spending so much of his career in larger agencies, he said he appreciates a smaller department where he knows everyone and it’s “small enough to feel like a family.”
Being at GFD has also given him a chance to have “one foot in operations and one foot in administration,” which he said he’s always liked.
As chief, Beal’s biggest task is examining the department’s future.
He’s part of a City Council subcommittee following up on a 2021 cooperative services study to see whether or how local fire departments could merge or share resources.
Beal said the initial study looked at Golden, Fairmount and Pleasant View, but didn’t make any recommendations. So, the subcommittee’s reexamining those three departments plus Arvada and Metro West and is “looking to come to a conclusion” sometime in April, he explained.
“We’re taking huge steps together with the City of Golden,” Beal said of GFD, adding that the department is now “less of an island” and is making decisions in tandem with city leadership.
Additionally, as chief, Beal has several goals for GFD. They include updating current policies and procedures and reevaluating the organizational chart to address the separation between volunteer and paid firefighters.
Regarding the latter, Beal said he wants to build “one department, one team.” He feels there’s too much separation between paid and volunteer firefighters, and people on the same shift aren’t always communicating with each other. Thus, his goal is to make sure everyone’s on the same page and improve accountability and communication.
Lt. Jeff Hulse and firefighter Jamie Jmieff, who’ve been with GFD since 2009 and 2021, respectively, were excited to see Beal at the helm. They described him as someone who’s honest, fair and approaches issues pragmatically.
“He’s a big-picture thinker,” Jmieff said. “ … He thinks about all levels of the organization.”
Hulse said that Beal’s appointment “starts the ball rolling” on a lot of changes and updates at GFD, adding, “It’s hard to take ownership as an interim chief.” Hulse wanted to see Beal address staffing needs via recruitment and retention, so firefighters can provide Goldenites with the best care possible.
He and Jmieff believed Beal will be a great leader for GFD, with Jmieff adding how Beal’s depth of experience and good communication are great assets for the department.
“He’ll help us navigate what could be bumpy waters,” he said.