Duval County

JSO: Fire lieutenant requested time off twice for same family member’s funeral, arrested for fraud

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville Fire and Rescue (JFRD) Lieutenant submitted bereavement requests for the same family member’s funeral twice in two years, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant.

Lt. Johnnie Buchanan requested bereavement in October of 2018 for an aunt’s funeral service. The warrant stated when he submitted his request to human resources, he included the aunt’s memorial card, per JFRD policy.

His request was approved and he was awarded 24 hours of paid time off, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

STORY: Police: 6-year-old girl dies after shooting at North Jacksonville home

Two years later, in October 2020, Buchanan submitted a second bereavement request for the same aunt. In his request, he included the same exact memorial card he submitted in his first request two years earlier. However, this time, the picture he submitted had the date of death and funeral cropped out, the warrant stated.

The request was approved, and Buchanan was again awarded 24 hours of paid leave.

While auditing open bereavement leave requests, the JFRD human resources team noticed the duplicate requests that were submitted two years apart, according to JSO.

The department attempted to reach Buchanan multiple times to clarify the duplication. Then, they requested Buchanan submit paperwork for the 2020 request with dates included.

He eventually submitted a memorial card for the second request that showed the same dates as the first request back in 2018, the warrant stated.

The arrest warrant was signed on Sept. 27. Buchanan was booked into Duval County jail on Sept. 28 and charged with organized fraud. He has since been released on bond.

According to JFRD, Buchanan’s second approved time off cost them approximately $900.

STORY: WINNER, WINNER! Jacksonville woman wins $1 million in Florida Lottery scratch-off

When asked if JFRD had a statement on Buchanan’s arrest, they said “it is against our policy to comment on any ongoing investigations.”

Buchanan has been with JFRD for 18 years. His status with the department is suspended pending termination, according to JFRD.

Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.