John Molenda appointed director of Lake County Public Safety

John Molenda has been tapped as Lake County's next Public Safety Director.

TAVARES – Lake County announced the promotion of Public Safety Deputy Director John Molenda to Director upon the scheduled retirement of John Jolliff.

Molenda joined Lake County Public Safety in 2016 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.

“I am humbled and honored at this amazing opportunity. Lake County is such an unbelievable place to work and live,” said Molenda. “We are a fast growing community and have accomplished so much in the last few years. I’m looking forward to continuing an outstanding provision of service to our residents and visitors.”


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.

“During his first year of service, John Molenda has helped significantly improve and grow Lake County Public Safety, and particularly, the Fire Rescue Division,” said County Manager David Heath. “His skills and expertise are an asset to the county, and I am confident his leadership as director will benefit not only our personnel, but the citizens who rely on our services daily to keep them safe.”

The Lake County Public Safety Department is comprised of Lake County Fire Rescue, Emergency Management and Radio Communications.