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P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778

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Lake County Public Safety announces reorganization; names new fire chief and deputy director

RELEASE DATE: March 11, 2016

TAVARES — Lake County Public Safety Director John Jolliff has announced the hiring of John B. Molenda as the Public Safety Department’s deputy director and the promotion of longtime Lake County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Jim Dickerson as the fire chief.

Deputy Director Molenda joins Lake County after spending 22 years with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, where he retired as deputy fire chief. There, he served as the department's Operations and Administration chief, EMS chief, Special Operations coordinator for the Hazardous Materials Team, and participated in the Technical Rescue, SWAT Medic, and Dive Rescue teams, among other duties.

Molenda also has more than a decade of teaching experience as a lead instructor for many local colleges and educational institutions, holds a paramedic certification, an associate’s degree in fire science and a bachelor’s degree in fire safety engineering. He was the rescue team manager for FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, and was deployed to Hurricane Katrina, the World Trade Center after 9/11, and dozens of other disasters around the world.

Chief Dickerson began his fire service career at the Palatka Fire Department in 1983, became a paramedic in 1986 and was hired as a firefighter/paramedic with Seminole County Fire in 1987. He joined Lake County as assistant chief of operations in 2004. Dickerson is responsible for managing all day-to-day operations of Fire Rescue, including overseeing personnel, equipment and apparatus, and fire stations.

His many accomplishments include deployments in response to Florida wildfires, Hurricane Ivan as taskforce team leader, Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Katrina.

Dickerson holds an associate’s degree in fire science and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. He completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program in 2006 and graduated from Florida State University’s Certified Public Manager program in 2014.

“I feel highly confident in the broad range of skills Deputy Director Molenda and Fire Chief Dickerson bring to the table,” said Director Jolliff. “Under the leadership of these two men, the safety of the public, and the safety of our firefighters, are in fully capable hands.”

For more information about Lake County Fire Rescue, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue, www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO or www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue.



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Lake County media contact:
Elisha Pappacoda
Public Information Officer
Office: 352-343-9609; Cell: 352-460-2851

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