William Swann named first African American director chief of Nashville Fire Department

William Swann has been named the first African American director chief of the Nashville Fire Department.

Mayor David Briley has selected William Swann to serve in the position of director chief of the Nashville Fire Department (NFD) with immediate effect. Director Chief Swann, who was previously the first African American deputy director in Nashville history, is now also the city’s first African American director chief of the department.

“I have had an opportunity to work closely with Chief Swann over the last six months and he has proven he’s the right person for the job. I am grateful for his work as interim and for his 22 years of service. I know he will be a strong leader for the Metro Nashville Fire Department, and I congratulate him on this appointment,” said Mayor Briley.

Director Chief Swann started his career as a firefighter and moved through the ranks of the NFD to Training Academy instructor, director of the Office of Emergency Management and deputy fire director. Most recently, Director Chief Swann served as interim chief following the retirement of Director Chief Ricky White in November 2017.

Director Chief Swann also served in the U.S. Army for five years and is a Gulf War veteran.

“I am honored to be appointed to the role of director chief of the Nashville Fire Department. I thank the mayor for his trust, and I thank the personnel of the Nashville Fire Department for their hard work and support over the past several years,” Nashville Fire Department Director Chief William Swann said. “My goal is to continue to make sure the personnel of the NFD are a group of well-trained, progressive and respected first responders. We are committed to promoting inclusion, equality and respect, while creating safer communities through prevention, preparedness and effective emergency response.”

Director Chief Swann is active in the community and serves as a deacon at the Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church in Madison. He also teaches adult leadership classes as well as CPR, first aid and advanced life support classes. He is participating in the current Leadership Nashville class. Director Swann holds a Bachelor of Arts in management and human relations from Trevecca Nazarene University. He lives in the Nashville area with his wife. They have three children.