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July 2018
Dear Friend,
On June 18, 2018, deputies responded to a triple shooting in Ft. Meade that left one young man dead, and two others clinging to life. It was a horrible situation that never should have happened.

A man thought a couple down the street had stolen his dog. Had he just called the Sheriff's Office in the first place, we could have investigated it. Instead, he and a couple of his friends went to the couple's home and threatened them on their front porch. Even more people began to assemble in the yard. The resident feared for his safety and the safety of his wife. He warned the men to leave, and he told them he had a gun. But the men grew more agitated and moved in closer. Six shots were fired, and many lives were thrown into chaos. 

Instead of an investigation of a reported dog theft, we were investigating a that will eventually be determined to be committed in self-defense. 

The dog was found, by the way. A 15-year-old boy found it wondering around collar, no tags. He thought it was a stray, as anyone would, and took it home with him. He found it well before the deadly confrontation occurred several streets away. The dog was never taken from the owner. 

People jumped to conclusions. 

But there was something encouraging out of all of this. We've seen situations like this spin out of control in other areas of the country. Sure, there were a few people spreading lies and rumors here in Polk, but overall, the people in Ft. Meade knew early on that everyone needed to keep level-headed while the investigation ran its course. Residents, law enforcement, church leaders...all communicating and cooperating.

There are no winners in a situation like this. It's one of those moments in life that just happens, and we have to find the strength to get past it. But if there is one silver lining to be found, it's this - we live in a county where we love one another, and trust one another, to do what's right, even when there are a few residents who do what's wrong.

Grady Judd, Sheriff 

The Guardian Program moving right along

Training for Polk County Schools'  Guardians got underway at the PCSO Training Center in Bartow in June. When completed, each public school in Polk County will have an armed Guardian or School Resource Deputy/Officer to help protect our children. Pictured above is Andrew Pollack (father of Meadow Pollack, who was killed in the Parkland school shooting in February), Polk County School  Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd, and some guy who saw the camera and said, "Oooh, camera---let me get in on this!" Just kidding...that's Sheriff know, the man who actually had a big part in designing the Guardian Program, because it was modeled after our very own Sentinel Program.
Are School Resource Deps on vacay?

Ever wonder what our School Resource Deputies do during the summer? No, they don't get the entire summer off (boooo!!!). Our School Resource Unit - and particularly the GRIP (Gang Response Intervention Program) deputies - spend as much time as they can during the summer checking in with juveniles throughout the county, encouraging them to continue to make good choices.

The GRIP deputies work hard  all year to establish a rapport of trust with school-aged children, and provide them with positive role models. They also work with parents to help identify the issues their kids may be facing, and help with coping mechanisms.
Please, think of the puppers...

Hot dogs in buns are good. Hot dogs in cars? Not so much. 

We get asked this all the time, so we thought we'd address it here: in Florida, yes you can legally break a vehicle window to rescue a vulnerable person or domestic animal if you:

* Call 9-1-1 first, or immediately afterward.
* Determine that the vehicle is locked, and no other reasonable method of entry is available.
* Have a reasonable belief that there is imminent danger to the person or animal.
* Stay with the vulnerable person or animal until help arrives.

For your added protection, try to have someone record the situation to prove your actions were necessary and legal.
Active Shooter Training Classes are now forming

What 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. All sessions are FREE and open to the public. Our next class is:

July 28th - at the PCSO Sheriff's Operations Center
1891 Jim Keene Blvd, Winter Haven
9:00 am - 11:00 am

This class does not include firearm use or training.

If you wish to attend an upcoming ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING session, please RSVP to, and please include the name of your church or business (if applicable) and a contact name and phone number, and the number of representatives expected to attend.

Exercise your 2nd Amendment right

The next PCSO Concealed Weapons Course is scheduled for Saturday, JULY 21, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the PCSO Training Center located at 2201 Old Bartow-Eagle Lake Road in Bartow.
This is the course required by the FL Dept of Agriculture as part of an application to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

If the morning class fills up, we will have a second class in the afternoon on the same day, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
YOU MUST CALL 863-298-6242, during normal business hours (Mon-Fri, 8-5) to reserve your seat. Cost of the class is $45; proceeds go to Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc., and the cost is non-refundable.

Any questions about the CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION, please call Lieutenant Marco Avila at the PCSO Training Section at 863-534-7200, during normal office hours.
One of those often-asked questions...

"Can I turn on a red arrow?"

If there is no sign posted saying "NO TURN ON RED" (usually posted next to the traffic light and near the sidewalk), you are allowed to turn right on red, even with the red arrow, but only after coming to a complete stop at the stop bar, and making sure there is no oncoming traffic that has the right-of-way. 
Our New & Improved Website is Online!

We have completely redesigned our website, and it is online and ready for you at PolkSheriff.Org! We think you'll find it easier to navigate, and more useful, and helpful to your needs. Jail information, Animal Control, and of course, everything you need to know about Sheriff Judd. It's all there. Just remember to clear your browser of any old cookies - because your browser does have a mind of its own, and it may try to take you to OLD site (which doesn't exist anymore).
It's Hurricane Season

The  2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season  has arrived, and the experts are predicting a slightly above-average  Atlantic hurricane  season is likely this season. If you haven't already made your hurricane action plan, what are you waiting for? An actual hurricane?!? Go to  Homeland Security's Kit Page  for ideas about what to set aside for an emergency. You would have seen that website if you follow us on Twitter, because we posted it there. Oh...speaking of Twitter...
Tweet! Tweet! PCSO is on Twitter @PolkCoSheriff

Do you Twitter? The  Polk County Sheriff's Office  does. If you think you might enjoy the lighter side of things with the Sheriff's Office, as well as some timely and helpful information, you'll want to follow us on Twitter,  @PolkCoSheriff.
Sheriff Grady Judd

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