Fire Administration

Chief Michael Dettman 

Chief Michael Dettman started his fire service career while serving in the United States Navy as a volunteer firefighter with the Charleston/Berkley Fire Department in Ladson, South Carolina. Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, he was hired by the Town of Mount Pleasant fire department. He served two years with Mount Pleasant before returning to his hometown of Sterling. Chief Dettman was hired by the Sterling Fire Department in 1998 and has served in every role within the organization. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2011 and served as the training officer and Fire Marshal until his promotion to Chief of the department in 2021. Chief Dettman has attended the City College of Chicago for an associate degree in Fire Science, Eastern Kentucky University (Fire Administration). Chief Dettman has also attended the National Fire Academy for several courses including Leadership, Command, and Control of Incidents, Fire Investigation, and Fire Prevention/Public Education. 

Chief Dettman has also completed the Chief Fire Officers certification with the Illinois Fire Chief Association, and Certified Fire Explosion Investigator with the National Fire Investigators Association. He currently serves as the District 1 representative for the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Board and has been a Field Staff Instructor for the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute for the past 19 years. Chief Dettman is a member in good standing with the International Association of Arson Investigators as well as the National Fire Investigators Association. 

Chiefs Message:

It is the responsibility of the Fire Chief to ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens, visitors, and firefighters who serve under them. We shall accomplish this with the education of the public, and quality training of the fire service personnel. It is my goal to ensure that all firefighters in this department have a multitude of disciplines in which they are trained to the highest level possible. We are an all-hazards department responding to a multitude of diverse types of incidents for which we must be prepared. Utilizing a Community Risk Reduction approach, it is my goal to reduce loss of life, and loss of property as well as reduce injuries through an initiative-taking approach utilizing education, enforcement, engineering, economic incentives, and emergency response.   

Deputy Chief David Northcutt

Deputy Chief David Northcutt left his home state of Kentucky to serve in the US Army and then the National Guard. He was hired by the Rock Falls Fire Department in 1992, retiring in 2015. During his career with Rock Falls, he obtained the rank of Captain; obtained an Associates Degree in Fire Science through John Wood Community College; obtained many certifications within the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office curriculum; has been heavily involved with MABAS Division 30, within the Illinois MABAS system.

Deputy Chief Northcutt worked part time for CGH EMS, as well as dispatched for Twin-Comm, for a total of 15 years. He also coached basketball for Montmorency School and Rock Falls High School. He became a fulltime telecommunicator for Whiteside County upon his retirement from Rock Falls, until hired as Sterling Fire Department’s Administrative Assistant.

In 2023, David was appointed as Sterling Fire Department’s Deputy Chief. He is now continuing his education within the fire service; obtaining certifications for leadership, inspections and training programs.

Deputy Chief’s Message: 
Never pass up an opportunity to learn or pass your knowledge on to others, as either makes you and the organization better. Always compete with the person in the mirror and hold that person to higher standards than anyone else.