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2 Polk Fire Rescue battalion chiefs resign after allegations of sexual harassment

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Polk Fire Rescue leaders have resigned after allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances.

Battalion Chiefs Brian Golden and Jeremiah Gilley resigned in September after being notified in July that they were under investigation, according to records obtained by 8 On Your Side.

Twelve people complained about their behavior, documents show.

Until recently, Golden was the Vice President of Polk County Professional Firefighters, Local 3531.

As battalion chief, Gilley was implicated in the investigation that found firefighters did not do enough to save Loretta Pickard in Nov. 2018.

A county spokesperson tells 8 On Your Side the men would have been fired if they had not resigned.

“Polk County takes allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment very seriously, and if confirmed, will take the appropriate action swiftly after conducting an investigation. Upon being brought to his attention, Deputy County Manager Joe Halman, Jr. immediately ordered an investigation that was conducted by our Employee Relations and Professional Standards Investigators and placed both employees on suspension pending the outcome of separate investigations. The county is very disappointed in these former battalion chiefs! This is not how we expect our supervisors to conduct themselves,” read the statement from Polk Fire Rescue.

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