David Topping named Bartlesville fire chief

June 15, 2021
City Manager Mike Bailey, left, congratulates Deputy Fire Chief David Topping on his promotion to the position of Bartlesville fire chief. Topping will officially assume the chief’s role on July 1, following the retirement of Fire Chief John Banks.

Deputy Fire Chief David Topping has been tapped to take over the top position at the Bartlesville Fire Department in the wake of Chief John Banks’ retirement later this month. After 32 years of service with BFD, Topping will officially become chief of the department on July 1.

“I am pleased to announce the promotion of Deputy Fire Chief David Topping to the position of Fire Chief,” said City Manager Mike Bailey. “Deputy Chief Topping has worked side by side with Chief John Banks for several years and is well aware of what is needed to do the job. I have full confidence in his ability to lead the department in the wake of Chief Banks’ retirement. We are fortunate to have such a qualified person for this position.”

After serving in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1988, Topping began his career with Bartlesville Fire Department in 1989. He served as a firefighter until 2002, at which time he was promoted to the position of equipment operator. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 2008, and to deputy fire chief in 2015.

Topping currently serves on the Legislative Committee for the Fire Marshals Association of Oklahoma, the Green Country Fire Chief’s Association Training Committee 2021, and the Committee for Washington County Fallen Firefighters and Law Enforcement. He has served on the executive board of the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) Local 200 union for 20 years. He has attended numerous fire academies and trainings over his 32-year career and holds certifications in all aspects of the Fire Service. He received the Governor’s Meritorious Service Ribbon for the Alfred P. Murrah Building response in 1995, the Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training in 2015 and the Bartlesville Fire Department Service Ribbon with two silver stars for 30-year service in 2019.

Topping was chosen for the position after participating in the hiring process conducted by a third party company, Strategic Government Resources. Fourteen applicants were interviewed initially (seven internal and seven external). The applicant pool was further narrowed following written and video questions/answers. The top five were then interviewed for a final time.

Topping will begin transitioning to the position immediately and will officially take over as chief on July 1, following Banks’ retirement.