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Administrative Staff



Jay Ducote

Fire Chief

Fire Chief Ducote

Chief Ducote joins the Rio Verde Fire District with over 32 years in the Fire Service. Jay started his career with the Glendale Fire Department and was promoted through the ranks to Division Chief in 2003. In 2005 Chief Ducote was hired by the City of Scottsdale to assist with the startup of the new Scottsdale Municipal Fire Department. In 2008 Jay served as the Epidemiology Section Leader at Super Bowl XLII in Glendale.  He was promoted to Fire Operations Chief in 2013 and also served as the Scottsdale Fire Department Public Information Officer (PIO). Chief Ducote was hired in June of 2016 by the Rio Verde Fire District after Chief Bradbury’s retirement.

Chief Ducote is currently a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association. He has achieved higher education degrees in the following fields: Master of Education in Educational Leadership, Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Management, Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science. In 2013 Chief Ducote received his Chief Fire Officer Designation (CFO) from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). 

Chief Ducote is a native of Arizona, currently living in Scottsdale. He comes from a family of firefighters whose father and brother both retired from the Phoenix Fire Department.  Jay has two grown children who currently live in Pennsylvania. 



Eric Merrill

Deputy Chief

Deputy Chief Merrill

Deputy Chief Merrill has been a career firefighter since 1980. He moved to Arizona in 1977 and worked in the emergency medical field completing his Paramedic training in 1980.He entered the Fire Service with Rural Metro Fire Department and worked throughout the Maricopa County service area including Sun City, Sun City West, Scottsdale and Rio Verde. Deputy Chief Merrill served and was honorably discharged as a sergeant from the United States Marine Corps. Deputy Chief Merrill has served as the Emergency Medical Services manager since the department’s establishment in 2004.

Deputy Chief Merrill is currently a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, The Arizona Fire Chiefs Association and The National Association of EMS Educators. He has achieved a Bachelors Degree in EMS /Hospital Management and holds a National Certification as a Certified Public Manager.

Deputy Chief Merrill and his wife Deana have been married for 32 years and have two grown children.






Reverend Dr.  Mary Catherine Northrup

Rio Verde Fire Pastor

Reverend Dr.  Mary Catherine (Cathy) Northrup


Rio Verde Fire Pastor

A Minnesota native, Reverend Northrup is a graduate of Hamline University in St. Paul, Georgetown University Law School, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and Princeton Theological Seminary where she received her Doctor of Ministry degree.

Prior to coming to Rio Verde, Reverend Northrup has served churches in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and most recently in Wichita, Kansas.  Her interests are broad and include preaching, teaching, pastoral care, Stephen Ministry, inter-faith ministry and outreach.

Reverend Northrup is married to Michael Northrup, a graduate of Brown University and Gordon Conwell Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.  Michael is both a teacher and a coach.  They reside in Rio Verde with their two black lab-mix dogs.

Reverend Northrup can be reached at the church office at 480.471.7239, via her cellphone, 480.322.0183, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..