City of Fort Atkinson names Peterson as new Fire/EMS Chief
The City of Fort Atkinson has named its next Fire/EMS Chief and Emergency Management
Coordinator. Bruce Peterson of Johnson Creek has accepted the position. Peterson is currently
the Fire Chief at the Johnson Creek Fire Department and has over 30 years of firefighting, EMS,
and emergency management experience.
Peterson was selected as the finalist after an interview with the Police and Fire Commission Jan.
The new fire chief started his career as a firefighter/paramedic with the Village of Barrington,
Illinois Fire Department. He continued his career there and from 2007 to 2014, Peterson served
as a fire lieutenant. From 2014 to 2023 he was the Assistant Chief and from 2020 to 2023 was
the acting fire marshal. He has served as the Fire Chief for the Johnson Creek Fire Department
since March 2023.
Peterson holds a Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Management from Southern Illinois
University in Carbondale, Illinois. He also holds an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Service
Technology from William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.
Division Chief Mike Lawrence has been serving as the interim fire chief at the department since
previous Fire Chief Daryl Rausch retired in June 2023.
“When developing the job advertisement, interview process, and candidate questions, we
surveyed members of the department and asked them to identify key attributes and skills
needed in the next fire chief,” said City Manager Rebecca Housman.
“I am confident that we have selected a candidate that possesses those skills discussed by our
fire/EMS personnel and one that is committed to building on the high standards of
professionalism and service to the community our citizens have come to expect from the Fort
Atkinson Fire Department,” Houseman added.
“I am appreciative of Division Chief Mike Lawrence’s service to the Department and the
community for the last eight months as the Interim Chief. Division Chief Lawrence is an asset to
this organization and a wonderful person. His support for this process and the decision to hire
Chief Peterson shows his stellar character and commitment to the success of the Department,”
“The Fort Atkinson Police and Fire Commission has worked diligently and carefully to interview
interested and qualified candidates to fill the position of Fire/EMS Chief for the City of Fort
Atkinson. The City engaged a recruiting firm GovHR to aid in the prescreening of potential
candidates, coordinating finalist interviews and the recruiting process,” said Philip Jones,
chairperson of the Police and Fire Commission.
“Chief Peterson brings more than 30 years of experience principally from Barrington, Illinois
and most recently from Johnson Creek. We look forward to having Chief Peterson join our
Department and lead the Department going forward,” Jones added.
“We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Interim Chief Mike Lawrence for his
guiding the department during the time that the search has been underway. I would also like to
thank the members of the Police and Fire Commission and City Manager Houseman for their
dedication, thoroughness and careful deliberation to the process and the selection process," he
The City received 33 applications from 15 states, including 13 from Wisconsin, for the position.
The hiring committee went through two sets of interviews with seven total candidates. A
formal swearing-in ceremony will be announced at a later date.