Fire Chief Derek Parker to leave Merced 

Parker has served as the city’s Fire Chief since 2021.

Merced Fire Chief Derek Parker is leaving the city after leading the Fire Department for three years. 

Parker is returning to Sacramento, where he has previous professional experience. 


The big picture: The city announced Parker’s departure on Wednesday. 

  • Since taking over as chief in 2021, Parker played a pivotal role in strengthening the department’s services and implemented advanced training programs for firefighters. 
  • The city also praised Parker for strengthening collaborative partnerships with other local agencies to ensure the highest level of service. 

Go deeper: Merced credits Parker for securing $4 million in state funding through Asm. Esmeralda Soria (D–Fresno) for a new fire station and emergency operations center. The new facility will house a fire station and integrate a police department substation to serve as an emergency operations center for the entire region. 

  • Parker also secured $3 million in funding from Sen. Anna Caballero (D–Merced) for the Haw Regional Training Center, a regional fire academy and public safety training facility that will include firefighter, rescue and emergency response education. 
  • FEMA gave the city a $9 million SAFER grant to hire 24 additional firefighters during Parker’s tenure. 
  • Parker was also in charge of coordinating Merced’s planning and response efforts during the flooding in January and March of last year. 
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