At the recommendation of the Harford County Fire and EMS department, along with the Public Safety Commission, a new department for working with emergency services was created in Harford.
Tuesday, Harford County Executive David R. Craig announced the acting director of the new Department of Emergency Services.
Russell J. Strickland was tapped as the acting director of the department. Prior to the new appointment, he served as the manager of the Harford County Division of Emergency Operations -- a position he had only held since September of 2012.
He began his career in public safety in the early 1970s as a part-time dispatcher with the Elkton Police Department in Cecil County.
At a press conference Tuesday, Craig said Strickland's appointment and the creation of the new department are not to replace volunteer fire and EMS efforts, but to assist.
"Creating this department was one of the things we needed to do to make sure we are always moving in the correct direction," Craig said.
From the late 1970s through 2004, Strickland was employed with the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the University of Maryland where he served in a number of positions, and concluded his service with MFRI as assistant director. While serving as the assistant director of MFRI, Strickland was responsible for the day-to-day field operations of the state-level agency.
In addition to his management responsibilities with MFRI, Strickland served as an adjunct faculty member involved with classroom instruction of fire service and emergency service providers throughout the State of Maryland.
Prior to his appointment to the position of manager of the Division of Emergency Operations, Strickland worked as a project manager with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. During his tenure with APLJHU, his duties related to providing subject matter expertise in the areas of local, state, and federal homeland security and emergency management, to include concept and proposal development, research and development, project leadership, as well as liaison activity with local, state, and federal partners.
Strickland said he is looking forward to working with the various department in Harford County to make an impact. He said part of the preliminary focus will be to support and make progress in call response efforts.