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August 2018
Dear Friend,
Public schools in Polk County start Monday, August 13th.  Children will be walking, biking, or riding buses to school.  Please remember to watch out for our children and school crossing guards who will be helping children cross busy streets.  Please remember to slow down when entering school zones and stop for school buses that are picking up and letting off our most precious resource, our children.  
This year, back-to-school also means that our students will be safer because of the presence of 92 uniformed and armed School Guardians at Polk County Schools. There will now be an armed presence, either school guardians or school resource officers and deputies, at all of our Polk County public schools in the fall. Our training staff have expertly trained these school guardians-they actually have more training and preparation in the safe and effective use of firearms that a deputy sheriff has after he or she completes the law enforcement academy. You can be proud of these guardians-they are committed to help keep our children safe from harm.

Grady Judd, Sheriff 

The Guardians Graduate!

Monday, July 30, 2018, was a momentous day in Polk - the first ever Polk County School Safety Guardians graduated from their extensive training program, and were sworn in by Sheriff Judd. As you know, Governor Rick Scott mandated that all schools in Florida will have either school resource officers or school guardians before the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. Our guardian program in Polk was modeled after the PCSO School Sentinel Program, already in place at colleges here in Polk. 

The ceremony was held at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, and was a very professional (and emotional) event, complete with Sheriff Judd administering the oath of office to 87 men and women who swore to protect and defend our schoolchildren. 
On August 2nd, Sheriff Judd swore in some charter school guardians, and on August 10th, he will graduate the last group. When school starts on August 13th, every public school in Polk County will have an armed guardian or law enforcement officer, standing in the gap, keeping kids safe. 

We are very proud of all of them! 
Speaking of School Starting....
PCSO is seeking qualified men and women in Lakeland who desire to work as a substitute crossing guard during the upcoming 2018/2019 school year. 
The substitute should be available to work for one hour in the morning and for 30 minutes in the afternoon when scheduled to work a crossing.
Anyone interested in applying for a position should contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at (863) 534-7300 ext 108.
School Crossing Guard services are provided by the Polk County Sheriff's Office through funds provided by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners. This vital program provides adult crossing guards at selected hazardous school crossings to ensure the safety of our elementary school children walking to and from school.

Here Fishy, Fishy.......
Each summer, deputies round up a group of children from all over the
county to participate in our annual "Fishing With Sheriff Judd" event at the lake behind the PCSO main operations center in Winter Haven. Many of our sworn deputies help with the actual fishing, while our plainclothes detectives donate their time to cook and serve hotdogs, hamburgers, and all the fixin's. We say that we do this for the kids, but the reality is, we have just as much fun, along with the satisfaction that we're interacting with children in a positive way. We'd much rather put a worm on a hook with a child, than have to put cuffs on a kid. 

Project Safe & Sound

When you live with someone who tends to wander off, you are facing difficult situations on a continual basis. The Polk County Sheriff's Office has developed the Project Safe & Sound program, which is a voluntary identification program that assists in the safe return of special needs children and adults. How does it work?


Caregivers complete the application/authorization forms which requires specific information regarding the special needs child or adult being registered, such as:

  • Name, nickname and address
  • Height and weight, and date of birth
  • Race and gender, tattoos
  • Hair and eye color
  • Any other identifying characteristic
  • Medical conditions
  • Doctor's contact information
  • It requests information about the registered adult's caregiver, like their name, address, and phone number in case they need to be contacted.
The information you provide on the application will be entered into the Safe and Sound database that is accessible to law enforcement and first responders.

The special needs child or adult will receive a "Safe and Sound" stainless steel bracelet, which includes an assigned identification number along with additional emergency contact information engraved on the plate of the bracelet. We recommend that the bracelet is worn 24/7, just in case your special needs child or adult wanders off unexpectedly.

Click here for more information o r call the Crime Prevention Section at 863-298-6677.

Sheriff Grady Judd

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