First Naperville Fire Department Captain Earns Fire Officer Status

First Naperville Fire Department Captain Earns Fire Officer Status

The Naperville Fire Department is proud to announce that Stephen Shink has become the first Captain and the department’s only current line officer to be credentialed as a Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence and The Commission on Professional Credentialing. This accomplishment follows the achievement of several of Naperville’s top-ranking fire leaders, who have become credentialed as Chief Fire Officers, and reflects the department’s focus on developing its personnel to meet the highest professional standards.

Shink, a 20-year veteran of the Naperville Fire Department, received the Fire Officer designation after completing a rigorous, months-long peer-review process. The honor reflects his qualifications in education, experience, affiliations, technical competence, community involvement, training and skill development, as well as professional contributions, recognitions and memberships.

“Captain Shink is now one of only 550 Fire Officer designees worldwide and is yet another example of the commitment to excellence exhibited by another tier of the Fire Department rank structure,” Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said. “The Naperville Fire Department has encouraged not only its chief officers, but also members of line-level supervisory staff, to obtain this high level of professional credentialing. I don’t know of any other department in the nation that has as much credentialing in all of its ranks as our great department has accomplished.”

Shink has been recognized internally for his contributions to the development of two important response teams. He helped create a Rescue Task Force, based at every fire station, which can enter scenes of danger and begin to provide medical care to the injured. He also assisted with the development of a highly skilled group called TEMS, or Tactical Emergency Medical Services, which is trained and equipped to join specialized police response teams in active operations at the most critical scenes, such as an active shooting.

Shink said pursuing the Fire Officer designation helped him identify his strengths and weaknesses after years of working under positive mentors who have taught him the value of continuous improvement. He has been involved with the Naperville Fire Department since 1992, when he signed up as a 14-year-old Fire Explorer, and has grown his career since, working as a Firefighter/Paramedic, Lieutenant, and now Captain.

“The Fire Officer designation is an excellent way to hallmark the knowledge gained as you progress as an officer,” he said.

Puknaitis said he hopes Shink’s achievement will serve as a catalyst for other Captains and Lieutenants to pursue credentialing through the Center for Public Safety Excellence and The Commission on Professional Credentialing – the same organization through which the department is accredited.

“The idea of constantly raising the bar of our service delivery to our residents is one of our core priority components within this department,” Puknaitis said. “The detail represented in this accomplishment validates excellence as a Fire Officer, and I look forward to other officers following the same path.”

The Fire Officer designation lasts for three years. Maintaining Fire Officer status requires recipients to show continued professional growth and community contributions, while adhering to a strict code of professional conduct.

For more information about the Naperville Fire Department and the ways it works to protect more than 145,000 people over 52 square miles, visit

For more information on the City of Naperville, visit To sign up for the City’s notification system Naper Notify and receive important emergency and community information via a phone call, text message, email or smart phone app, visit

Senior editor of the Chicago Morning Star

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