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New Assistant Chief Named for West Hartford Fire Department

Greg Priest, currently UConn fire chief, will become assistant fire chief with the West Hartford Fire Department. Courtesy photo

Greg Priest has been extended a conditional offer of employment to serve as West Hartford’s next assistant fire chief.

By Ronni Newton

Town Manager Matt Hart has announced that University of Connecticut Fire Chief Greg Priest has been extended a conditional offer of employment to become an assistant fire chief with the West Hartford Fire Department.

Priest is expected to start work on July 30, 2018, pending acceptance of a conditional offer of employment. A swearing in ceremony will likely be held on that date as well, Hart said.

Priest will assume the role formerly held by Asst. Chief Richard Winn, who retired last fall after more than 30 years with the department.

“We needed to have someone in that assistant chief slot, responsible for the operations side of the department, the position that Richard Winn held for years,” Hart said Tuesday. Priest has more than 20 years of progressively responsible experience.

“I’m very excited about bringing Greg on Board,” said Hart. The two worked together when Hart was Mansfield town manager and Priest was at UConn’s Storrs campus.

“He’s a great candidate and he’s going to be a good fit for the organization,” said West Hartford Fire Chief Gary Allyn.

Like Hart, Allyn has worked with Priest in the past. Prior to becoming chief of the University of Connecticut Fire Department in December 2016, Priest was a deputy chief stationed at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, and has worked extensively with the West Hartford Fire Department in mutual aid and emergency medical services roles.

Priest is in his early 40s, said Allyn, and should have a good, long career in West Hartford.

Priest will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department, including emergency medical services. He is a paramedic, and also a part-time police officer in Massachusetts, Allyn said.

“He brings not only fire and EMS experience, but law enforcement experience as well,” said Allyn.

“He’s very bright, talented, level-headed, and comes with great experience including a whole host of certifications in the field. I think he will prove to be a good fit,” said Hart.

Allyn intends to retire soon, and Hart said that after a formal announcement is made the town will conduct a competitive search for an experienced chief. He is hopeful that there will be internal applicants as well.

“Chief Allyn has been very helpful to me in my first year getting acclimated to the town and issues on the public safety side,” Hart said. “I have really appreciated his support and assistance.”

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