By Kathy Jefcoats
RIVERDALE — Two years after being appointed permanent chief over Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services, Jeff Hood is hanging up his helmet.
Hood, 53, has worked in fire services since 1978 when he was 19. He was promoted to chief April 5, 2011, after serving in an interim spot since Christmas Day 2010.
He told his department Monday that July 19 will be his last day. Hood said he will devote part of his retirement to taking care of his parents, a decision which Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner called “commendable.”
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for him doing that, putting his parents first,” said Turner. “He will be sorely missed. We worked well together and I respect him deeply. I wish him the best.”
Turner is a former Clayton County police chief and worked with Hood in a variety of public safety arenas.
Turner said the commission will likely look in-house for an interim replacement.
“We’ll definitely have some conversations with some people already in place to make it a smooth transition,” he said. “We would expect everything to operate as it has been. They know what they’re doing and we don’t anticipate a troubled transition.”
For the long-term, Turner said he anticipates the position of chief will be publicly posted for applicants.
“I will definitely speak to the board about the direction in which to proceed,” he said. “We’ll likely post the position and then go from there.”
In addition to heading the fire department, Hood also serves as director of Emergency Management Services for Clayton County.
Hood has been a Clayton firefighter since September 1978 and immediately immersed himself into additional training, said Assistant Chief Landry Merkison. Hood got his paramedic certification in 1981 and over the years has served as paramedic sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and assistant chief of emergency operations.
The Hood family has lived in Clayton since the late 1800s with Jeff Hood making his home in Rex with his wife of 31 years, Suzanne. The couple raised two sons, Jeffrey Jr. and Justin Hood.