Under the watch of three former Newton Fire/EMS chiefs, and current chief Scott Metzler, Steve Roberson listened to city manager Bob Myers talk about the history of the department — and how the department has a very proud history that must be "jealously protected."

And then Myers paused, and talked about how easy it was to select a new chief for the department — someone to take over in about 20 days when Metzler is finally retired. Roberson heard his name called, and his appointment as chief became official.

"We have great people, not just in the Fire/EMS organization but the city of Newton. To serve as Fire/EMS chief is truly a humbling honor,"  Roberson said.

Roberson has worked for the Newton Fire/EMS department his entire career - 24 years. He is one of three registered nurses in the department. He earned an associates degree in emergency paramedicine in 1996, completed the fire science program in 2000 and earned bachelor's degree in organizational management and leadership in 2003. He is certified as a tactical paramedic and has served with the ERT team for 10 years. He is also a certified paramedic instructor and a fire service instructor.

"I have complete confidence that he is exactly the person to continue the heritage of the Newton Fire/EMS in the future," Myers said.

There are 1.2 million firefighters in the United States, only 4,000 have ever been ever admitted to the executive fire officer program. Roberson is the third member of Newton Fire/EMS to be in that program. Cory Lehman, current member of the Fire/EMS department, will start the four-year program shortly.

Metzler described Roberson as uniquely qualified to lead the department’s members in their pursuit of excellence.

 “Chief Roberson’s ability to exercise leadership in our department and in our community has had a tremendous impact on our ability to fulfill our mission,” Metzler said. “I’m proud of the work Steve has done, and I’m excited to think about how he’ll guide our members to even greater success.”