Robert Smith, an emergency management official for the Arlington, Va., Public School System, will be Manatee County's next public safety director, leading 911 and other emergency operations.
Since 2013, Smith has been the emergency management, risk management and safety officials for the Virginia school district. He also is an adjunct instructor of 9-1-1 and emergency management-related courses for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Institute.
Manatee County commissioners will formally confirm Smith's hiring at the March 24 meeting, according to a Manatee County government news release. Smith is scheduled to start work April 15.
Smith was hired from a field of 147 applicants for the position. Interim Public Safety Director Laurie Feagans has filled the position since November.
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“Bob brings a wealth of experience along with strong leadership skills that will continue add great value to the department and the community,” said Deputy County Administrator Karen Windon in the release. “His calm yet decisive approach will serve us well, whether during a project implementation or in a disaster situation. His technical knowledge in the 911 arena fits nicely with the major initiatives we will soon be undertaking.”
Smith is a former county 911 director and an emergency management agency coordinator with more than 22 years of experience in the emergency management field, according to the county.
In Manatee County Smith will run a 216-employee department that includes the Emergency Communications Center (911), Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services and Marine Rescue.
“I’m looking forward to working with a team of great professionals to serve the citizens and visitors of Manatee County,” Smith said in the release “The combination of my operational experience in both the field and administratively in public safety, and the variety of positions I’ve held at the local through federal level should help me in the new role.”