Biloxi Fire Department names deputy chief of operations

Jeff Merrill, who this year marks his 20th year with the Biloxi Fire Department, has been named the department’s deputy chief of operations and combat. Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney made the announcement, filling the final position in the command staff of the 148-member department.

Jeff Merrill

As deputy chief for operations and combat, Merrill, 48, will oversee day-to-day operations of the department, focusing on the readiness of the department, including equipment care and maintenance, and overseeing staffing and shift levels at the city’s nine fire stations.

Merrill joined the department in 1994 as a firefighter, was named a captain in 2003, and became a battalion chief in 2006.

“Jeff Merrill is the best-qualified person in the department for this position,” Chief Boney said. “He has the education, the training and the experience to do a good job for the department and the citizens of Biloxi.”

Merrill is a graduate of Brevard High School in Brevard, North Carolina and holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science Technology from City College in Chicago. He is a nationally certified Emergency Medical Technician. He also served in the United Sates Air Force for eleven years and held the rank of Staff Sergeant. During his time with the military, he also participated in Operation Desert Storm.

Merrill is married and has four children and one grandchild.

With Merrill’s promotion, the fire department’s command staff is now composed of Boney as chief, Mark Dronet as assistant chief, and deputy chiefs of training (John Jennings) and fire prevention (Vincent Payne).