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Turlock Fire Department adds Division Chief
fire gary promotion
City Clerk Kellie Weaver administers the oath to Gary Carlson, who became the Turlock Fire Departments new Division Chief of Operations on Friday. - photo by Photo contributed by the Turlock Fire Department

A position in the Turlock Fire Department that has been vacant since the recession was filled Friday when the department promoted long-time employee Gary Carlson to Division Chief of Operations.

“As a chief, you try and surround yourself with people that are knowledgeable and trustworthy and make good use of them,” I trust him and the fire fighters trust him,” Turlock Fire Chief Robert Talloni said during Friday’s badge pinning ceremony for Carlson. “Chief Gary Carlson is a go-to guy … he goes that extra mile every time.”

The Operations Division of the fire department handles the daily emergency response activities of the department and is responsible for staffing, scheduling, apparatus, stations and communications. It has been a position that has long sat empty because of budget constraints within the City of Turlock.

“When we decided we were bringing back this position we knew we wanted someone who would be calm, cool, and collected” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth. “He is exactly what this department needs.”

Carlson is a lifelong resident of Turlock and a second generation fire department employee with the City of Turlock. He is a graduate of Turlock High School and earned his bachelor of arts degree in business administration from CSU Sacramento. He joined the fire department in 1997 as an engineer and was promoted to captain in 2005. He has been serving as a battalion chief since 2009.

Carlson’s father, Robert Carlson, is a previous fire chief for the department and was on hand Friday to see his son’s promotion.

“We are very proud of him,” Robert Carlson said of his son. “It’s a big step with a lot of responsibilities, but I’m sure he can handle it.”

“I feel very humbled by this,” Gary Carlson said. “I will work every day to make sure I don’t let any of you down.”