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“A leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way” : Dawson County’s first responders say goodbye to Chief Dooley
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Outgoing Division Chief Jason Dooley signs off for the final time on Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services’ dispatch radio. - photo by Julia Hansen

“Thanks for all the county has done for me over the years. Out of service, off duty,” said outgoing Division Chief of Operations and Training Jason Dooley. 


And with that final sign off, Dooley concluded a 15-plus-year tenure with Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services. 

Colleagues, family and friends gathered in the fire headquarters’ engine bay Oct. 14 to bid him farewell during his last day with the department. 

Dooley is leaving for a full-time fire captain position with the Roswell Fire Department. 

He started with DCFES as a firefighter and worked his way up to the division chief position. Earlier this year, he served as the interim EMS and emergency management director. 

“Chief Dooley is one of the best chief officers I have had the privilege to work with. He has proudly served the citizens of Dawson County for over 15 years,” former DCFES Chief Danny Thompson said in a statement to DCN. “His countless positive contributions and quick wit will remain years after his departure from DCFES. I look forward to working with Chief Dooley in any of his future endeavors.”

“You’ve done a lot of good in this community, [and] some see it; some don't. A lot of people never know what you guys do,” Fire Marshal Jeff Bailey said. 

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Fire Marshal Jeff Bailey, right, presents Dooley with a commemorative plaque for his time with DCFES. - photo by Julia Hansen

Bailey added that Dooley has set the example for all incoming recruits on how to be a firefighter, leader and civil servant, tirelessly and selflessly putting effort into the job, like the search-and-rescue operations for which Dooley’s “been invaluable.” 

“I’ve never seen him ask anyone to do anything that he has not done and would do,” Bailey said. “He’s one of the best men to work with and work for, and he’s also a very valued friend …you’ve brought emergency services forward light years more with your support.”

Dooley encouraged his coworkers that Dawson wouldn’t “be a little less safe” like Bailey said, elaborating that he’s tried to pass on as much training, knowledge, resources and abilities as possible during his tenure with the department. 

“I have no doubt that you guys will pick it up, run with it and do just as good of a job for Chief Leist,” Dooley said. “Work just as hard, protect the community and serve just as much as you did for me…chief officers will come and go, but [with] the fire service, you guys will pick up the torches and carry on.”

“I know there’s been a lot of change [and] a lot of questions, but I firmly believe that this county, this fire department has a great, great future ahead of it,” Bailey added. “I hope y’all will welcome the [new] chief and work with him to support our growth.” 

One of the E911 dispatchers, Hope Leahey, also wrote a farewell for Dooley. Over the headquarters intercom, she said that the outgoing division chief has “earned the respect of his fellow firefighters and peers.” 

“You truly leave the best legacy of leadership for those who will remain in this department. You are a leader who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” Leahey said. “You’ve impacted so many lives during your tenure with Dawson County, and the Dawson County fire services will never be the same. You will truly be missed.”

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