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Bartow, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2022) — The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved of Hezedean A. Smith as the new Polk County Fire Rescue Chief at their Nov. 1 Commission meeting. Smith was appointed by Polk County Manager William Beasley, and he will begin work on Nov. 7.

“Hezedean Smith has 34 years of experience in the emergency services profession,” Beasley said. “He’s a proven leader, and his experience will help protect and serve the residents of Polk County.”

Chief Smith served in the United States Air Force as a medical service specialist (1988-1992) and worked at Apopka Fire Department after the military until he transitioned to the Orlando Fire Department in 1996. He retired as an assistant fire chief in Orlando after almost 25 years. He was later appointed as the 6th fire chief of the Charlotteville Fire Department in Virginia in 2020. While in Charlotteville, Chief Smith hired the most diverse recruiting class in 166 years. He also created new positions without increasing the department’s budget. 

“I’m excited to start work as the Polk County Fire Rescue Chief,” Chief Smith said. “I plan to build strong relationships within the organization and the community. We will be an inclusive, can-do, high-performing 21st-century team that the community can count on.”  

Chief Smith, a multi-credentialed Chief Fire & EMS Officer, who has a Doctorate in Management, will be paid a salary of $160,000 annually.

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