Captain Jeff Hiner has been put on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of a reported police investigation.

"I have heard some allegations on the street," VFD Chief Mike Johnson said. "If it's on the street, we need to find out what is going on, so we put him on administrative leave while we do our investigation."

An official press release from Venice Public Information Officer Pam Johnson states:

"Venice Fire Chief Mike Johnson announced today that Capt. Jeff Hiner has been put on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation regarding allegations of violation of city policies and procedures.

"The case is related to an incident currently under investigation by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department."

Neither Pam Johnson nor Mike Johnson (they are not related) would say publicly what the nature of the allegations is, nor what city policies and procedures may have been violated.

Venice City Manager Marty Black said the city put Hiner on administrative leave because the stress of a city investigation and one by the sheriff's office would add too much to the stress that normally comes with Hiner's profession.

Black also did not go into detail about the allegations that prompted the city's action.

A check with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office revealed no "hits" on the name Jeff Hiner.

However, that does not mean that there is no investigation.

Most law enforcement computers are programmed only to hit on people who have been arrested. If an investigation involving Hiner had been started recently, it may be too early to be in the system yet.

Venice Police Sgt. Kevin McGrath said Venice police are not involved in any investigation involving Hiner.

Hiner has been with the department for 20 years, Johnson said.

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By Tommy McIntyre