Frostproof, Florida – Last week we reported the story about Polk County Fire Rescue Captain Jerry Riner who was suspended for working for both the Polk County Fire Rescue Department and also working with the Frostproof Volunteer Fire Department as Fire Chief. This is a violation of a policy that has been in place for several years, but according to Deputy County Manager, Joe Halman Jr., wasn’t enforced due to specific language in a grant that the county was receiving money. Once that grant language was changed they started going after fire fighters. Specific details are hear in our article last week: Polk County Fire Rescue Captain Suspended And Forced To Choose Between County & City
On Thursday October 28, 2021 the county terminated Jerry Riner. They terminated him with cause for insubordination. He would not comply with a policy that says he cannot work for both agencies. A policy that the county got around for years because it wanted too. It didn’t matter that Captain Jerry Riner has a sterling record with the Polk County Fire Rescue. It didn’t matter that he is a fire Captain who leads other men into dangerous situations almost daily. It didn’t matter that he has been a fire fighter for Polk County Fire Rescue for over 25 yrs. It didn’t matter that he has worked for Frostproof Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 yrs. It didn’t matter that while he was on unpaid suspension he save a man’s life, just last week. It didn’t matter that in all those years he has had only one write-up for a minor infraction 22 yrs ago.
All that matters is the county had the power and the means to go after the everyday hero and the did it. If they can do this to a great man like Jerry Riner, what have they done to others.
Please email County Manager Bill Beasley and tell him this policy is wrong and to bring back Jerry Riner. Then carbon copy our county commissioners. Don’t delay, do it today.
Email addresses County Mgr: [email protected]
Polk County Commissioners
George Lindsey, III
Rick Wilson, Chairman
Martha Santiago, Ed. D., Vice Chair