Higher education, community service key for Southfield’s new fire chief

Congratulations are in order for newly appointed Southfield Fire Department Chief Johnny Menifee. Menifee’s appointment was affirmed by Southfield city councilmembers this month.

The Southfield Fire Department is one of Oakland County’s busiest fire departments, with 88 firefighters serving about 175,000 citizens in Southfield and Lathrup Village.

Menifee has served since 1993 and has served in various supervisory positions, including acting battalion chief, captain, lieutenant, EMT/paramedic, and the department’s training and safety officer.

“Chief Menifee has a proven track record and a great deal of experience in protecting and serving the public in the city of Southfield,” Mayor Kenson Siver said in a statement. “He will make a great fire chief and will carry on the high standards of the city of Southfield and the Southfield Fire Department.”

For Menifee, higher education was mandatory for success. Menifee holds degrees from Siena Heights University and Eastern Michigan University, and also graduated from National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., as a certified administrative fire chief.


Pursuing higher education is a goal Menifee urges young adults to strive for. In 2013, he was given the opportunity to talk to young people at high schools on higher education and leadership during a mentoring program that covers the skills of leadership of the Southfield School District.

“I feel strongly that the chief must be working outside of fire headquarters, as well as behind the desk to make sure that our firefighters are working in a supportive environment in a department that enhances their safety by providing timely in-service training and providing opportunities for professional advancement,” Menifee says in a statement.

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