AFTER AN ILLUSTRIOUS and action-packed career with the Los Angeles Fire Department, Assistant Chief Roy Harvey will soon retire. He became an LAFD firefighter on January 29, 1978. Harvey will conclude his 42 years of service on the anniversary of his hiring, on January 29, 2020. Harvey was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Inglewood High School and attended El Camino College in Torrance, California. While studying at El Camino, a close friend looking to become a firefighter urged Harvey to train and study with him. Harvey started at Fire Station 64 in South Los Angeles, his first of two stints there. Next, it was FS 63, then brief assignments at fire stations 54 and 21 (South L.A.). He also has served as a drill tower instructor and background investigator. In 1988, Harvey was promoted to Captain. He spent the next several years at stations 65 (Watts) and 66 (Hyde Park). He then transferred to FS 19 (Brentwood) to gain vital brush fire experience.
As Captain II, he spent the next 21 years as a task force commander, his most memorable stint, and the period where he feels he was most impactful. He utilized his experience and leadership to help mentor others, offering firefighters from across the city the opportunity to ride and train alongside him. At the time, Harvey was also heavily involved with the Los Angeles City Stentorians—the organization dedicated to recruitment and promotion of diversity within The Los Angeles Fire Department. Harvey was instrumental in acquiring training resources for the Stentorians, and developing training programs to prepare recruits for the rigors of the drill tower. “As African Americans, we had a very small footprint. Back in ’78, my incoming class put the total number of African American firefighters just over 100,” recalled Harvey. There have definitely been growing pains, but I am so proud of where the department is today. The LAFD looks and feels like it reflects the beautiful city of Los Angeles.” In 2013, Harvey was promoted to Battalion Chief. Shortly after, he was promoted to Assistant Chief, and Assistant Fire Marshal of the Fire Prevention and Public Safety Bureau. Chief Harvey’s parting words of wisdom: “Be great at your job. Don’t settle for good enough. The LAFD is the best fire department in the country, but we can always do better. We only get better if the people doing the work continue to improve. Keep striving for excellence. Be positive. Do the right thing.”