Chiefs from the volunteer era were originally elected by popular vote of the fireman to serve for a one year term (beginning and ending in March). In 1871, the Common Council assumed the responsibility of appointing Chiefs annually with chiefs commonly serving more than one term. The Board of Police and Fire Commissioners was established in 1897 and have since that time appointed the Department's chiefs. Under the boards authority, chiefs may not be removed from office without just cause.

Years Name
1857 - 1858 John M. Griffin
1858 - 1859 E.B. Chadwick
1859 - 1860 William Genett
1860 - 1861 D. M. Burwell
1861 - 1863 Charles Billings
1863 - 1864 G. B. McGie
1864 - 1865 T. G. Tibbits
1865 - 1866 William H. Holt
1866 - 1867 Martin Hinrichs
1867 James E. Fisher (Fisher resigned just weeks after being elected.)
1867 - 1868 William T. Fish
1868 - 1869 W. N. Moulton
1869 - 1870 A. R. Jones
1870 - 1871 William Farrell
1871 - 1877 H. A. Dyke
1877 - 1880 Martin Hinrichs
1880 - 1881 W. A. Bradley (Bradley died in June of 1881 while serving a second term.)
1881 - 1882 Edward Quammen
1882 - 1884 William Vallender
1884 - 1890 William H. Hughes
1890 - 1907 Charles Bernard
1907 - 1929 Charles W. Heyl
1929 - 1939 John Lahm
1939 - 1944 Richard Widmann
1944 - 1963 Edward J. Page
1963 - 1974 Ralph A. McGraw
1974 - 1979 Eldon E. Maginnis
1979 - 1985 Edward D. Durkin
1985 - 1996 Earle G. Roberts
1996 - 2011 Debra H. Amesqua
2012 - Present Steven Davis