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January 2018
Dear Friend, 

Happy New Year, everyone! 2018 is a brand new year, full of promise and new things to come. 
As we begin each new year, we like to reflect on our goals and achievements, and focus on how we can better serve the citizens of Polk County. Of course, we can't do it alone. We rely on your support and our valuable partnerships to help us keep crime low and improve the quality of life for the people of Polk County.
Our men and women work hard every day - together with the community we serve - to keep each other safe.  Thank you all for your ongoing support of our agency members and the other law enforcement agencies in Polk County. We can't do this job without it. 

From all of us at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy new year!

Grady Judd, Sheriff 

Civilian Active Shooter Training

The tragic murder of innocents at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas in November of 2017, shows that an active shooter can strike anywhere. You owe it to yourself and your family to think about how you would react if an assailant showed up at your church, business, or local theater. What would you do? Are you prepared?
We invite you to attend a free program presented by highly trained Polk County Sheriff's Office law enforcement professionals in cooperation with several community partners. Learn what the best practices are and how you can make a difference. This training is designed and appropriate for churches, businesses, or individuals, to help prepare citizens for a possible active assailant event.
All sessions are open to the public:
January 9th - Heartland Church
225 Avenue B NW, Winter Haven
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
January 27th - PCSO Sheriff's Operations Center
1891 Jim Keen Blvd, Winter Haven
1st session @ 9:00 am -11:00 am
2nd session @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
January 30th - Victory Church
1401 Griffin Rd, Lakeland
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
This training provides an overview of active shooter incidents and best practices about how to prepare for, prevent, and respond to an active shooter at your church, business, or other venue. The "Run, Hide, Fight" training model will be covered, including tactics and strategies of what to do when law enforcement arrives. Deputies will also discuss the potential role of Florida concealed weapon license holders and the legal justification of "lethal engagement" with an active assailant.
This class does not include firearm use or training, but the Sheriff's Office does offer a separate Concealed Weapons Course (call 298-6242 for the next available class), as do a number of local firearm retailers.
If you wish to attend any of the upcoming sessions, please RSVP to, please include the name of your church or business and a contact name and phone number, and the number of representatives expected to attend.

PCSO Employee Spotlight 

Please join us in congratulating our outstanding canine team Deputy Jacob Durrance and bloodhound Chase! 

Deputy Durrance posted this to his personal Facebook page: 
"Today, I had the honor of attending Florida Missing Children's Day at the state capital. Chase and I were awarded the 2017 Jimmy Ryce K-9 Trailing Team of the Year. This is the most prestigious award a handler can earn, I am so blessed and humbled to earn it. I owe this honor to a lot of people: The Jimmy Ryce Center for providing Chase to the Sheriff's Office, Lake Bloodhound Kennels for raising Chase, Deputy Terry Roberts for laying a great foundation of training in Chase, all of the many instructors with whom we have worked, all the volunteers who ran training tracks for us, the Polk County Sheriff's Office for always supporting our needs, my partner Deputy David Butler for all of his help, and all of my family and friends. Thank you all!"
PCSO Employees Awarded Law Enforcement Task Force of the Year!

Congratulations to this years' winners of Law Enforcement Task Force of the Year award, presented at the 2017 Florida Missing Children's Day ceremony in Tallahassee. Lt. Governor Carlos López-Cantera and First Lady Ann Scott, with Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen, presented the award to this team during this annual event that is held to remember Florida's missing children, recognize the state's efforts in child protection, and educate Floridians on child safety and abduction prevention.

This Child Abduction Response Team, comprised of PCSO Sergeants and Detectives, FDLE and FBI agents, and FHP Troopers, led an abduction investigation that covered three states: Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, to find a young girl who was taken from her home. AMBER alerts were issued in all three states. The girl was recovered in Tennessee and flown back to Florida by the FDLE Aviation Unit.

To read the FDLE news release about this event, click here:

Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches Youth Villa 
On Monday, December 11, 2017, Sheriff Grady Judd and the Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc., board members presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches at the Youth Villa facility in Bartow.

The donation will fund a "Polk Sheriff's Charities Scholarship House." The house will help the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches (FSYR) staff assist recipients of the scholarship in transitioning from the structured environment to independent living.

"The youth and the staff at the Youth Villa in Bartow are very special to us, and we want to take some of the money we've raised through our charity to help them succeed even further, beyond the program. We're very excited to have this opportunity to change the lives of some very special young adults. Thank you for your ongoing support of our charity - it is through your contributions at our annual events, such as Jeepin' With Judd and Bustin Clays With Sheriff Judd, that donations like these are made possible. Together, we are making a positive difference!" - Grady Judd, Sheriff

For more information about the Scholarship House please read the news release:

12th Annual  Motorcycle Escort for Wreaths Across America

On Saturday morning, December 16, 2017, Polk County Sheriff's deputies, along with other local law enforcement agencies, participated in the 12th Annual Motorcycle Escort for Wreaths Across America. They left from Saddle Creek Logistics in Lakeland to begin the one hour drive north to Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. The wreaths were then placed on the graves of our fallen military heroes. An unofficial count of 668 motorcycles participated in the caravan.

Prevent Vehicle Burglaries
Polk County faces a constant battle of vehicle burglaries.  Criminals walk through parking lots and/or residential areas lifting up on door handles checking for unlocked vehicles. Securing your vehicle(s) makes it much harder for criminals to get into your vehicle, and most often will completely deter the criminal from committing a crime. To help reduce your chances of a vehicle burglary, keep the following tips in mind.
One of the most effective ways to prevent vehicle burglaries is to secure your vehicle at all times. At home, park your vehicle in the garage; lock the doors and close the windows for added security. If parking in the garage is not an option, to lock the doors and close the windows. Park vehicles close to the residence. Install motion sensor lights to the exterior of your home to alert if anyone walks near the residence or vehicle. Also, activate your vehicle's alarm system, if applicable. Otherwise, consider installing an anti-theft device. 
Be sure to remove valuables such as GPS devices, laptops or tablets, cell phones, MP3's/IPOD's, chargers, wallets, purses or loose change - as well as the garage door remote to deter a criminal's interest. For items that must remain inside the vehicle, store them in the glove compartment or in the trunk before you arrive at your destination (including removing or storing your GPS device).
Consider parking close to your destination, in heavily traveled areas with adequate lighting, and/or close to surveillance cameras. Avoid parking next to vans or trucks which obstruct your view. If you are unsure if your vehicle is safe, park it in a different place where you will be more comfortable. 
Be cautious when you are shopping; especially if you place items in your vehicle and then return to the store. Criminals may be watching you and waiting for you to re-enter the store, so they can break into your vehicle and steal your recently bought items. Sometimes criminals will work in teams. One criminal may follow you around while the others burglarize your vehicle. In this situation, it is best to move your vehicle to a different location in the parking lot before returning to the store. 
Never leave your keys in the vehicle or leave your vehicle running while unattended; even if you only plan to be out of your vehicle for a few seconds and think nothing could happen. If using valet services where you must leave your keys with an attendant, consider leaving only the vehicle key. Ask for the attendant's name and remember some of their personal characteristics. Should something be stolen or destroyed in your vehicle, you will be able to provide details about the attendant to law enforcement when reported. 
Remember, if you see something, say something no matter how insignificant it may appear to be, call the Polk County Sheriff's Office non-emergency number at 863-298-6200 and report it.

The Teen Driving Challenge
Got teen drivers? Sign them up for the PCSO TEEN DRIVER CHALLENGE. 
Teen Driver Challenge Dates:
January 26th and 27th, 2018
February 23rd and 24th, 2018
March 30th and 31st, 2018
April 27th, and 28th, 2018 
The Teen Driver Challenge provides young drivers with hands-on experience and classroom learning, reducing their risk of becoming another tragic statistic. We encourage parents and teenagers to get involved in this valuable program. All it costs is 12 hours of your time - but the rewards are priceless.

For more information, please contact Deputy Sheriff Johnny Wombles at 863-297-1109 or email us at

Jeepin' With Judd 2018

Our Annual Jeepin' With Judd event promises to be the best ever! February 23-25, 2018. Click here to Register now! 

Judd Jog 2018

Our Annual Judd Jog event will be here before you know it! It is scheduled for April 18, 2018. Click here to Register now!

Sheriff Grady Judd

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