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Fire Rescue Promotes Smith and Cassista to Deputy Chief


Published on Feb 10, 2020


Bartow, Fla. (February 10, 2020) - Polk County Fire Rescue Fire Chief Robert Weech announced today the promotion of Battalion Chiefs Ben Cassista and Shawn Smith to the rank of deputy chief. 

“I am extremely confident that both Chief Smith and Chief Cassista will represent the division with the highest levels of commitment and integrity,” commented Fire Chief Weech. “I am looking forward to working with them and seeing the contributions that each will make to this great agency.”    

Chief Cassista, who has been with the division since 2004, will be assuming the responsibilities of the deputy chief of planning. In addition to being a registered nurse, he holds a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration from St. Pete College and a fire officer 4 certification from the State of Florida. Prior to starting as a firefighter/EMT with Polk County he served two years with the Auburndale Fire Department. Cassista has also held the positions of firefighter / paramedic, driver engineer / paramedic, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief at Polk County Fire Rescue.

Chief Smith started with the division in July of 2003.  He will assume the responsibilities of the deputy chief of training. Along with a fire officer 2 certificate from the State of Florida, he holds an associate’s degree in fire safety from St. Pete College and a bachelor’s in fire administration from Columbia Southern University. Smith has also advanced through Polk County Fire Rescue’s ranks having been a firefighter / paramedic, driver engineer / paramedic, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief.

Both chiefs will be ceremoniously promoted at the PCFR May 2020 promotional ceremony.