According to a release from the Lufkin Police and Fire Departments, Lufkin Fire Chief Ted Lovett (left on above picture) has stepped down from his role as head of the department.

Lovett became fire chief in Oct. 2011 after spending four months serving as the department’s interim chief. He has been with the department since 1986.

“Earlier this year I announced my six-year intent to retire (which will be in 2025) per policy of the Lufkin Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund,” Lovett said. “I will remain with the department as a battalion chief overseeing a shift of firefighters and EMS personnel.”

Lufkin City Manager Keith Wright said Frisco-based Southwest Leadership has been selected to assist with a nationwide search for a new fire chief. Southwest Leadership is owned and operated by retired Frisco Director of Public Safety Todd Renshaw.

“The city has experience in utilizing this company with the police department and we have a lot of confidence in its capabilities,” Wright said. “We believe they will succeed in finding the right candidate for Lufkin. We will take our time in finding the right fit for our community.”

Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson said Lufkin Police & Fire will continue its partnership with a focus on integrated response, providing improved emergency response times and outcomes.

“I look forward to welcoming whoever is selected as the incoming chief,” Williamson said. “The public can continue to expect excellent service and performance from Lufkin Police & Fire.”

Assistant Chief Duane Freeman (right on above picture) will act as the interim fire chief until a new chief is selected.