The Food Service Section staff is comprised of certified Food Service Specialist (Civilians). They supervise an inmate work force of 110 inmates. The Food Service Section prepared and served 3,030,109 meals in 2015 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 2015 the kitchen facility at the Central County Jail served 768,425 regular inmate meals and 77,337 Juvenile inmate meals. The Central County Jail facility also prepared 24,330 meals for the Hope Now program for a total of 870,101. At the South County Jail facility served 2,160,008. This is a total of 3,030,109 which is an average of 8,302 meals per day at both the Central and South County kitchen facilities.
All food is prepared, under the supervision of Food Service Specialists, by inmate labor consisting of two shifts, each with 25 trusty inmate workers per shift. Female trusty inmate workers are utilized on the night shift and male trusty inmate workers on the day shift at the Central County Jail facility and 35 male trusty inmate workers per shift at the South County Jail facility.
Both facilities maintain staff dining rooms serving one meal per shift a day to all Polk County Sheriff's Office personnel, medical staff, maintenance staff and visiting county/state employees.
The Food Service Section is allocated for 26 positions. This includes 23 Food Service Specialist, two sergeants (certified) and one administrator (Civilian) position. 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.