LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has a four-page protocol for controlled substances meant for patients, but a veteran paramedic allegedly found a way around the various rules and regulations, prompting an ongoing investigation and his resignation last summer.
Michael J. Reyer, 42, resigned last July, a day after he was implicated in the “suspected theft of multiple narcotics,” according to a letter to the paramedic from Chief Dennis Jones. The letter indicated the fire department had conducted an internal investigation before placing Reyer on administrative leave.
Records show the allegations were reported to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office two days before his resignation.
Neither Jones nor sheriff’s office spokesperson Crystal Clark would comment on the types of drugs that were missing, but the fire rescue department’s controlled substance protocol indicates rescue vehicles carry containers of eight types of drugs, including morphine and fentanyl.
Neither Jones nor Clark answered a question about whether the drug supply meant for patients was compromised as a result of the alleged theft.
Department protocol indicates several safeguards are in place to protect the narcotics that are on board the rescue vehicles.
An “inventory will be conducted in a face-to-face manner” during crew changes, according to the policy. If a drug “is discovered to be missing or appears to have been tampered with,” immediate notification to department officers is required.
“There is an open investigation involving HCFR regarding suspected theft of narcotics,” Clark said. “However, I do not have details on any suspects detectives are investigating due to this being an active case. At this time, records related to this case are likely not releasable until it is closed.”
When this case was first reported in August, Jones said he could not provide any details, but he emphasized the department “took immediate action” after the investigation began.
The case has now been open for about six months, but Clark did not offer a timeframe for when it might be concluded.
According to sheriff’s office documents, the stolen drugs had a value of $305 when the case was opened. At that time, the potential charges were said to be embezzlement and theft by employee on duty.
8 On Your Side has been unsuccessful at reaching Reyer for comment. He has been a licensed paramedic for about 15 years and worked for Hillsborough County since November 2005.
Current Department of Health records indicate Reyer is still licensed without any disciplinary action or public complaints on his record.
Reyer has also been a registered nurse since 2017, according to Department of Health records. That license includes “an address of record” for a Tampa-area hospital but a spokesperson for that health care company said Reyer never worked for that facility.