Unalaska Picks Guardian Paramedic For New Fire Chief

Mar 1, 2017

The Unalaska Department of Public Safety has been short-staffed for years. Officials announced the new hire Tuesday.
Credit KUCB File Photo

After a nine-month nationwide search, Unalaska has finally hired a new fire chief.

D.J. Dunn will start next month, leading the island’s fire and emergency medical services.

“He’s exceptionally qualified for the position," said Mike Holman, director of the Department of Public Safety. "He has a bachelor’s degree in nursing, so he’s a paramedic and a nurse. He’s got significant fire experience as well as training.”

Dunn has experience in Unalaska too, as a part-time employee at Guardian Flight. He currently splits his time between the medical transport company and the fire department in Savoy, Illinois.

Holman said Dunn will start full-time at Public Safety during the first week of April.

Meanwhile, the department also has a new police officer.

Jeremy Tapaoan was sworn in Tuesday after nine months on Public Safety's corrections staff.

Holman said the move marks another small step in solving the department’s chronic problem with short-staffing.

“There are still openings, but this is definite progress," he said. "I’m happy with the folks that we’re attracting and bringing onboard. I think Jeremy Tapaoan will be a great addition for the police department, and the same goes for D.J. Dunn.”

Public Safety still has two openings on the police force and one in corrections.