New IFPD Fire Chief Patrick Reitz (left), takes the oath of office last Wednesday from 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone (right). His significant other Renée Arsenault looks on during the swearing-in ceremony and later pinned Reitz’s badge on his uniform. Photo by J.P. Crumrine

On a bright sunny morning, Patrick Reitz was sworn in as Chief of the Idyllwild Protection District.


Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone administered the oath to Reitz, as Renée Arsenault accompanied him. Afterwards Stone welcomed Reitz to the Hill and in a “spirit of cooperation” offered the county’s assistance to help him and IFPD succeed going forward.

Reitz, the fifth chief since the late 1990s, when former Chief Don Gilden assumed the command, took office Wednesday, Aug. 1.

After a couple of days on the job, Reitz said, “It’s been great. Everybody has been very welcoming and helpful offering assistance.” But he admitted he is looking forward to end of the honeymoon period, when he will feel established here and the orientation will be over.

Reitz is the former fire chief and emergency services director for the City of Sheridan, Wyo. He served as Sheridan fire chief from August 2005 until February 2012. Due to dwindling city revenues, the fire staffing was nearly halved during his tenure.

Reitz, originally from the Akron area in eastern Ohio, has always wanted to be involved in public safety and protection. He began his service as a volunteer firefighter, and then emergency medical technician and paramedic in 1989 as well as a year in law enforcement in Ohio.

From Akron he migrated west, first to Washington state, south to Oregon and then east to Wyoming.

He was an emergency medical technician and firefighter for Clallam County Fire Protection District 3 in Sequim, Wash. From there he became the chief of the Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District in central Oregon, and from there to Sheridan.