The Little Rock Fire Department has hired its first female chief. Rhoda Mae Kerr is currently the deputy chief of the fire department in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She will replace Chief Phil Johnston, who announced his retirement in May. Kerr is to take command in January. Kerr was also the first deputy chief for Fort Lauderdale, second-in-command for a city of about 320,000 people with 389 sworn firefighters. City officials say they hope Kerr can resolve disputes with the firefighters` union over overtime pay and lawsuits alleging racial discrimination.