Baltimore City Fire Department Promotes First African-American Female Battalion Chief

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— The promotion of Captain Charline B. Stokes makes her the first African American female to attain the rank of battalion chief in the 154-year history of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Stokes is the battalion chief for community outreach. She is one of six recent promotions in the Emergency Medical Services Division.

“I am extremely proud to be the first African American woman battalion chief in the history of this great agency,” Stokes said. “This is another important step toward increasing diversity within the entire fire department.”

Stokes was born in Baltimore and attended St. Francis High School.

She began her career in the fire department in 1987 as a paramedic assistant. She became a paramedic in 1988. In 2003, she was promoted to lieutenant. She was later promoted to captain in 2007, served as the quality improvement officer, district commander for EMS 2, and community outreach officer. In that time, Stokes was a leader in the department’s fundraising effort for the Combined Charities Campaign, raising tens of thousands of dollars to support children and families in Baltimore.

“Chief Stokes is a superb addition to our command staff,” said Chief James Clack. “For many years, her commitment to excellence and community engagement has made her a valuable asset in the Department, and for the city of Baltimore.”

Stokes has two children and three grandchildren and is an active member of St. Bernadine’s Church.     

In addition to Stokes, Captain Tavon A. Claggett was promoted to battalion chief for administration, Lieutenants John W. Blake and Deirde A. Weems were promoted to captain, and firefighter/paramedics Scott B. Parrott and Shawn L. Keene were promoted to lieutenant.

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