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March 2018
Dear Friend, 

The Parkland school shooting on February 14th left everyone in the United States deeply saddened. Seventeen innocent lives were struck down in what should be a safe environment.

Here's my take on the Florida legislature's effort to pass a comprehensive bill to improve school safety. 

We must have a layered approach to school safety. 
There is no one magic solution that will keep our kids safe in school. The Florida legislature is working on comprehensive bills to improve school safety in light of the massacre of innocents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I commend House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron for their leadership and work to keep our children safe in schools. I support their efforts and I encourage everyone to reach out to their local legislators and tell them you support HB 7101 and SB 7026.
The bills have many provisions. The ones I think can make the most difference in keeping our kids safe are:
  • Harden schools, make it harder for killers to get on campus
  • Increase and enhance prevention training for school staff and children
  • Give law enforcement more tools to intervene with kids and adults who make violent threats
  • Give law enforcement the authority to hold any firearm of a person who is Baker Acted and has made a credible threat of violence against another person (with due process in place)
  • Provide more resources for mental health treatment in Florida
  • Provide more school resource law enforcement officers
  • Give schools the option of adopting the Marshal Plan that will provide more well trained, well screened, adults on campus who can stop and active shooter
Regarding the Marshal Plan, let me clear up some misconceptions. I'm uniquely qualified to talk about it, because the proposals are based on our Sheriff's School Sentinel program, where we have a confidential concealed carry program and training system in place and working at a private University in our county.
First, the Marshal plan is completely optional for school districts and independent schools. Teachers or staff won't be forced to participate. The schools and local law enforcement will narrowly select qualified volunteers by doing back ground checks, drug screens, and psychological screening. Then, those volunteers will be trained by highly qualified law enforcement personnel for 132 hours in firearms, legal requirements, defensive tactics, and situational awareness. There are many layers of security and safety involving the staff and the firearms.
Here's the bottom line: a good guy with a gun is the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun. Yes, we can put in early warning systems, mental health interventions, hardened security, and law enforcement in place to hopefully prevent or interdict a killer on campus. But ultimately, school marshals or sentinels can be that last, best chance to stand between a killer and our children and grandchildren.
Ask yourself this question: if some crazed nut has gotten through all our prevention and security, and is walking down a school hallway with a gun towards your child, do you want someone there with a gun, and trained how to use it, to stop him before he kills your child? If your answer is yes, then please support this legislation.

Grady Judd, Sheriff 

Sheriff Judd, President of the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSO)
On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) installed a new group of executive officers who will serve in 2018-2019. Sheriff Grady Judd was named as the group's new president.
Toy Donations in Polk Schools
Earlier in February our deputies were in schools trying to CATCH YOUR KIDS BEHAVING! 
We received so many toy donations during the Christmas season (for which we very are grateful) that we have plenty to give to our schoolchildren. We love rewarding good behavior, good citizenship, and good grades. We love reinforcing the fact that law enforcement o fficers care very deeply about children, and are committed to helping them make good life decisions - that's why we have school resource deputies assigned to our public schools.

Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc. sponsoring team uniforms
On Monday, February 19, 2018, Sheriff Judd and the Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc., board members presented sponsored team uniforms to 17 youth athletic organizations in Polk County. Each team or organization also received a check for $250.00 from the charity.
"Our charity is proud to support sportsmanship, teamwork, and youth activities in this great county of ours. We believe in positive motivation and encouraging kids to get outside and play. Thank you to everyone who conti nues to support Polk Sheriff's Charities, so we can give back to our community." - Grady Judd, Sheriff
Athletes from the following organizations will be wearing the Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc. shirts, pants, and hats, this year:
Auburndale Youth Baseball
Bartow Dixie Baseball
Christina Girls Softball
City of Lakeland T-ball and Basketball
Dundee Ridge Youth Baseball
Fort Meade Dixie Youth Baseball
Florida Youth Baseball League
Frostproof Youth Ball 
Greater Winter Haven Youth Baseball
Lake Wales Pirates
Lakeland Highlands Babe Ruth 
Polk City Baseball League 
Northeast Rattlers
North Lakeland Baseball & Softball
South Lakeland Babe Ruth 
Wahneta Softball
Winter Haven Wolverines
If you see your team pic in this album, please tag yourself!
Have a great time this year, everyone!

Alumni Luncheon
Polk County Sheriff's Office Alumni members gathered at our Training Section in Bartow on February 20th. We caught up on new stories and laughed at old ones.  

What a nice way to gather around the ole' stomping grounds and meet up with old friends. Imagine all of the great stories they could tell.  All of that experience. All of those years of service. 
School Crossing Guards get much-deserved recognition
On February 2nd, Governor Rick Scott "Crossing Guard Appreciation Day" in Florida.  PCSO has 131 crossing guards throughout the county, committed to helping schoolchildren safely cross busy streets and highways, to and from school. These wonderful men and women are true public servants. They come to wo rk every day, in the rain & the heat, whistle and stop sign in-hand, doing a fairly dangerous job - and it's all for the safety of our kids. Keep up the great work!

Bustin' Clays with Sheriff Grady Judd
On March 17, 2018, Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc. will be holding its 10th Annual "Bustin' Clays with Sheriff Grady Judd" fundraising event at Tenoroc Sporting Clays in Lakeland. Last year's event attracted over 360 shooters, and over 500 people were in attendance.
There are still spots available if you are interested in joining! 
There is no hard cut-off for Bustin' Clays registration, however, there is a limited capacity at the event which we meet each year. Event tickets are first-come, first-serve. Be sure to register as soon as you can. Shooter Information must be turned in no later than March 12th to be available at the Registration Table the day of the event.
We are looking for a few special sponsors to support this important event. Several sponsorship levels are available, with some levels including media recognition. We encourage you to sign up early so that we can pr operly recognize you in all our materials, including our brochures. Sponsors are also able to set up tables at the event and add items such as company literature to the gift bags given out at the event.
Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc. will use 100% of all proceeds from this event to further their mission to support activities and charities that benefit the community associated with and identified through the Polk County Sheriff's Office. By participating in this event, you are positively impacting our community in a real way!

For more information or to register a team click here  Bustin' Clays 
Children's Identification Kit - A way to keep your child safe

In this modern smartphone age, it seems nobody memorizes phone numbers anymore. Please teach your child your phone number and home address. A child as young as 5 should be able to retain that information. If he can crack into your smartphone with your password, log into Netflix with your login, and watch Pocoyo, then 9 digits can't be that hard. Also make sure your kids know your home address.

Of course, we don't want them telling just anyone this info - coach your child to find a trusted adult (preferably a law enforcement officer) and let them know they're lost and that they need help contacting mom or dad.

Believe it or not, lots of teens don't even memorize phone numbers - why would they, when it's all stored in their phones? Take the time TODAY to talk to your teen about memorizing important numbers. Yes, you'll get the eye roll and the requisite indignant response, "I KNOW, Mom, GOSH!" and we apologize in advance for that.

Did You Know? The PCSO provides free child ID kits? This easy- to-use fingerprint kit allows parents to take and store their childrens' fingerprints and other critical information for safekeeping in your own home. The entire process takes about 5 minutes - back in the olden days, we'd say "you can do it during a commercial break" but nobody watches live TV anymore so we'll settle for "you can do it in the time span it takes to nuke your dinner in the microwave." 

The completed kit can immediately give authorities the vital information they need to assist them in their efforts to locate a missing child.

If you would like for us to mail you this free Child Identification Kit, please email your name and address to

Yes there are companies out there that advertise the same thing, but these are free, and they are sent to you by your friendly hometown law enforcement agency. We promise not to add you to a random mailing list and inundate your mailbox with fliers and coupons until eternity. Not that we have coupons - I mean, a get out of jail free card would be the closest thing we have to a coupon, but we only give those out on very special occasions.

Other great tips: if you're going to a crowded place, like that theme park with the giant mouse, snap a pic of your kids before entering the park so you know what they're wearing that day. Have an emergency plan should you get separated - such as a meeting spot.

We know all too well how quickly those little whippersnappers can get away from you. Hopefully these quick tips will help your family if you should ever find yourself in this situation.

Be safe, everyone.

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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The Teen Driving Challenge
Got teen drivers? Sign them up for the PCSO TEEN DRIVER CHALLENGE. 
Teen Driver Challenge Dates:
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