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Sheriff tries to determine if fire chief should be arrested for responding to calls. Lack of state certification is the issue in Freeport, Florida.

WMBB News 13 – The Panhandle’s News Leader

The story above is from Monday before Chief Greenslait was limited to desk duties.

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Freeport, Florida is a real Mickey Marse operation. That’s not a misspelling. That’s the name of the mayor. Mayor Marse, the Walton County Sheriff and other government officials have a bit of a problem to deal with in the form of Freeport Fire Chief Ben Greenslait.

After an investigation, it was determined that Chief Greenslait is not certified by the State of Florida to act as a fire scene commander. Until Greenslait is able to reactivate his Firefighter II status he has been relegated to the role of administrative chief. The concerns about Greenslait’s qualifications were brought to the attention of town officials by former Freeport Fire Chief Wayne Charles.

WMBB-TV image of Chief Ben Greenslait.

Now, according to news reports, it’s a former firefighter, Ted Brown, who has been telling the Walton County Sheriff’s office that Chief Greenslait should be arrested for responding to at least two emergency scenes since he was confined to desk duty. One call was for a distressed boater on Wednesday. The second was a fire call on Thursday. Sheriff Mike Adkinson told’s Tom McLaughlin  that an arrest is something he is considering:

“If he’s taking action as a firefighter where he has no authority to take  action as a firefighter, we have an obligation to step in,” Adkinson said.

Brown said he saw Greenslait acting as an on-scene commander at the Fourth of  July call.

He said he told deputies at the scene Thursday that Greenslait should be  arrested for impersonating a firefighter. He has filed two criminal complaints  with the Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff says he has asked for and is waiting for guidance from the state before taking action.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Dickey

    WOW…sounds like small town politics at it’s best and the former fire chief is pissed that he is the FORMER chief. I don’t get the arrest part…He is still the chief of the department even if he isn’t certified so he can still respond to calls but he can’t be the IC right? Here in WI you don’t even have to be a firefighter to be chief, but unless you have had the training, you can’t be IC.

    • RJ(in florida)

      you have to be a FF1 to vollie and FF2 to get hired in florida. it used to be that you would not get a certificate unitil you got hired

  • RJ(in florida)

    FOR YOU GUYS IN THE DCFD should we not be wondering how LRB became a chief in florida WITHOUT this certification?

    seeing the complaining ex chief wobbeling while saying “he was just doing the right thing” with a slight smirk in his tone of voice is sour grapes. so he takes the 40 hour recert and moves on with a nanny nanny boo boo

    • Retired 201

      Exactly RJ, The Sarasota gig is the big question. How did this guy get hired and how was he allowed to rip off the Sarasota County tax payers? He was DC’s problem and they got rid of him until somebody’s time came into play and said it’s safe to come home.

      • Jim Miller

        DCFD didn’t get rid of LRB, he was still on their payroll in Florida. He screwed up in Florida and came back to DC aqnd still us screwing up.

  • 8truck

    If the man isn’t certfied to be a ICO the he needs to be demoted until he earns such certification. I’m a little confused though. How is a FFII cert deactivated?

    • doobis

      You have to actively work as a FF (paid or volly) in FL. After 3 yrs it gets deactivated (unless you take a retest). You can’t technically be a FC without being fire cert, that is why they call them administrators.

      This sounds like a bunch of nonsense though. They should have handled it in house or gone to the State Fire Bureau and handled this administratively.

  • Former Chief

    Dave, I think Mickey “Mouse” operation sounds more accurate.

  • BH

    Wonder how much money the State of Florida nails you for every two years do keep that mickey mouse certification.

  • Steve from PA

    Guys, This is a bit ridiculous. What they are saying is because he doesn’t have his up-to-date FF2 Cert, the man can’t be chief. The original article states, he is taking duties as a firefighter but has no right to…. He is still a firefighter. Ohh that’s right the first 200 hours of training doesn’t count, I’m sorry I forgot!!! Politics at its’ finest.

  • Ted

    I see a title change coming to “Fire Administrator.”