The Polk City Fire Department will soon have a new fire chief and the position will be full time for the first time in the department’s history. The City Council approved the hiring of Knoxville Fire Chief Jim Mitchell Aug. 13 during the regular City Council meeting. Mitchell began as Polk City fire chief Sept. 17.


The search for a new fire chief started in March. Mitchell was chosen from four finalists who were selected and interviewed in June.


“My wife and I are looking forward to living in and serving the citizens of Polk City. I’m excited to work with the fine men and women of the Polk City Fire Department and the other city departments. My goal is to maintain the excellent quality service currently provided by Polk City Fire Department, while the city grows ever so rapidly.”


Mitchell comes to Polk City with an extensive background and many years of experience. Mitchell started his fire service journey in 1984 as a volunteer firefighter/EMT in Knoxville. He moved to Urbandale in 1993 and became a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT. Mitchell served Urbandale FD as a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief of training and assistant chief of fire operations. During that time, Mitchell was employed full-time with Des Moines Fire Department for 14 years as a firefighter/paramedic and HAZMAT technician. Mitchell became the full-time Knoxville fire chief in September 2013.


The move to hire a full-time chief comes with Polk City’s continued growth and the increasing demands on the fire department. The department averages 700 calls per year and serves a population of nearly 12,000. Mitchell joins a department that includes approximately 15 part-time members and 30 volunteers.


“This is a big step for the department,” said Dan Gubbins, Polk City fire chief. “This will give us the capacity and leadership needed to grow along with the community. Chief Mitchell will be a great addition to the team of part-time employees and volunteers.”