The Food Service Section staff supervises an inmate work force of 120 inmates. The Food Service Section prepared and served 3,042,828 meals in 2012 at one of the lowest cost per meal rate in the state.
The Food Service Section has two kitchen facilities. One is located in Bartow at the Central County Jail, and the other is located at the South County Jail in Frostproof.
In 2012 the kitchen facility at the Central County Jail served 757,816 regular meals, 113,944 Juvenile inmate meals and also prepared 28,051 meals in 2012 for the Hope Now, which is a local re-entry program. The South County Jail kitchen facility served 2,143,017 meals in 2012. This is a total of 3,042,828, which is an average of 8,337 meals per day.
All food is prepared, under the supervision of Food Service Specialists, by inmate labor consisting of two shifts, each with 25 inmates per shift at the Central County Jail facility and 35 inmates per shift at the South County Jail facility.
Both facilities maintain staff dining rooms serving one meal per shift to all Polk County Sheriff's Office personnel, medical staff, maintenance staff and visiting county/state employees.
The Food Service Section is allocated for one (1) Administrator, two (2) sergeants and twenty-three (23) Food Service Specialists (Civilians). All members of the Food Service Section are Florida State Certified Professional Food Handlers.
Aside from the inmate and staff dining meals prepared, the Food Service Section also prepares food for special groups and occasions such as the Sheriff’s Leadership Council tours, Community Service activities, and departmental staff meetings.
The Detention Food Service Section also maintains a mobile kitchen for use during emergency situations. In 2005, the mobile kitchen responded to the Panhandle area following Hurricane Dennis and to Waveland, Mississippi in August to assist in the recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Charley in 2004, Polk County Sheriff's personnel set up a command center in central Polk County for two weeks and the Food Service mobile kitchen was deployed. One month later when Hurricane Ivan came ashore in the panhandle the mobile kitchen was deployed to Santa Rosa County for 8 days.
The Detention Food Section has also provided and delivered food and beverages for Polk County Sheriff's Office personnel during emergency situations with Polk County.