City of Omaha to have its first woman fire chief

March 17, 2023, 9 a.m. ·

(Eric Francis/Getty Images)

OMAHA — The City of Omaha will have its first woman fire chief as Kathy Bossman this month succeeds retiring Fire Chief Dan Olsen.

The appointment was announced Thursday by Mayor Jean Stothert.

Kathy Bossman has been selected from within the ranks as Omaha’s new fire chief, succeeding Dan Olsen, who retires this month. (Courtesy of City of Omaha)

Bossman joined the department in 1997 as a firefighter paramedic. She has been promoted to captain, battalion chief and, in 2017, assistant fire chief.

Among Bossman’s achievements is helping to design a peer support program and a diversity, equity and inclusion education program for the department. Currently, Bossman supervises the 184 firefighters and seven battalion chiefs assigned to the “C” shift and manages the Emergency Medical Services Division.

“As Chief, I intend to continue our diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging, especially in our higher ranks,” Bossman said in a statement. “We value the different perspectives that a diverse workforce offers.”

The city entertained only internal applicants from the department. Pending approval of the Personnel Board, her annual salary will be $184,205.

Bossman earned a master of arts degree in organizational leadership with a concentration in fire/rescue executive leadership from Waldorf University, a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an associate degree in science-fire science from Southeast Community College. She received paramedic certification from Creighton University.

Olsen is set to retire March 24 after 30 years with the department.

During his tenure, Olsen supervised the design and construction of Omaha’s first new fire station in 22 years — Station 31 at 34th and L Streets in South Omaha. Plans currently are underway to build a fire station in northwest Omaha and a joint Omaha Fire-Omaha Police public safety headquarters.

Olsen’s gross monthly pension benefit will be $10,514, according to a statement from Stothert’s office.

Bossman takes the helm at a time of growth in the city that requires updated emergency plans, facilities, equipment, technology and advanced training for firefighters, the mayor said.