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September 2018
Dear Friend,
You may have heard me mention from time-to-time that Polk County has a record low crime rate, and is one of the safest places in America to work, live, and play. The Polk County Sheriff's Office works hard to keep it that way. One of the best ways to achieve that starts with you, and a few simple steps.
Be alert. If you see or hear something, say something. If something seems suspicious, report it, so we can look into it and determine if criminal activity has, or is about to occur. And when you do report it - call us, don't send us an email, or a Facebook private message. Dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, or 863-298-6200 for non-emergency reporting.
Stay informed. There is a wonderful website at It's free, and it links you with your neighbors. The Sheriff's Office also uses it to share crime trends or suspicious information for specific neighborhoods. 
Facebook is another tool we use to communicate with our residents. We also use Instagram and Twitter. These are great for sharing news, as well as getting tips on crimes, and asking for your help in catching bad guys (and girls). Follow the buttons to the right of this message to see all of our social media channels.
The downside of social media though, is that unless you're careful, it's easy for bad people to get your personal information.
Do what we refer to as "hardening the target." With your computers use strong passwords, and be careful with whom you interact online. At home, make sure all windows and doors are secure, consider using a security system, and be careful who you let in.
Take the extra steps in your daily life that will it more difficult for people to have a negative impact on your life. Be safe.

Grady Judd, Sheriff 

Watch out for the kiddies!

The 2018-2019 Polk County School year began Monday, August 13th.  You've all noticed the added traffic & kids on the roads and sidewalks. Please, please,  slow down through school zones! Remember, speeding fines/penalties in school zones are doubled.

Teach children to always use the crosswalks and obey the school crossing guards.
  • Never cut through traffic.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Explain why talking to strangers (or accepting a ride/gift from a stranger) can be dangerous and what they should do.
Students are asked to observe the following tips:
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing a road (preferably a sidewalk).
  • Walk, never run, through a crossing. Obey the school crossing guard.
  • Obey all traffic signs and lights.
  • Use the sidewalk and never wander from the path to school.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike (also on scooter or skateboard).
  • Always ride your bike with the traffic.
  • Report any suspicious person or activity to a responsible adult.
Teach children 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
  • If children are very young, explain what 9-1-1 is used for.
  • Outline what constitutes as an emergency and when to call.
PCSO cares about the safety of children. Our Crime Prevention Section offers free programs to teach children about Stranger Danger, Deputies are Your Friends, Internet Safety, Bullying/Cyberbullying, and Eddie Eagle Gun Safety. Contact Crime Prevention at 863-298-6677 or email for more information.

We Need Substitute Crossing Guards in Lakeland!
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.

From Chief!
Please join us in congratulating retired PCSO Captain Andy Ray on his new appointment as the Chief of Police for the Auburndale Police Department!

Andy Ray began his law enforcement career in 1984 as an Auxiliary State Trooper. He was hired by PCSO as a deputy sheriff in 1987, promoted to Sergeant in 1991, to Lieutenant in 1996, and then to Captain in 2003. During his time with us, he became an expert in traffic, school resources, criminal investigat ions, and support services. He is a consummate professional who leads by example, and always has a smile on his face.

Captain Ray retired from PCSO in 2012, and was hired as Deputy Chief at APD, working for Chief Chris Nelson. He holds an Associate of Arts Degree from Polk State College, a Bachelor's Degree from Florida State University (go Noles!), and a Master of Public Administration Degree from Troy State University. He has also obtained numerous law enforcement and leadership certifications, and is an active member of the Polk County Police Chief's Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association, (FPCA).

Chief Nelson was recently selected as the Executive Director for the State Attorney's Office, Tenth Judicial Circuit, under State Attorney Brian Haas. Andy served as interim Chief until being appointed to the position by the city on August 31, 2018.

We are so proud of you, Chief Ray, and we know the citizens of Auburndale are safer today than ever before with you at the helm.

This Bud's for you! 

Check out Bernie Little Distributors in Lakeland's latest truck, dedicated to honoring men and women in law enforcement. We're so grateful for all Anheuser-Busch does to support first responders and our military. 

Speaking of awesome businesses, i f you don't have plans on September 11th this year, visit Mission BBQ in Lakeland for a delicious meal, and be sure to stop by before noon to get a seat, because Polk County Fire Rescue will have a talented singer there to sing the national anthem. Their new location is 4014 South Florida Avenue.

And during the month of September, if you purchase one of these collector cups honoring first responders and the heroes who died on 9-11-01, a portion of the proceeds will benefit  our charity, Polk Sheriff's Charities, as well as the PCFR, Lakeland P.D. and Lakeland Fire Dept charities.

Our Spooktacular Charity Event is coming!

Back by popular demand, PCSO presents the annual  Haunted Jail Tour  benefiting The United Way of Central Florida.
From  6:00 pm through 10:30 pm, on Friday & Saturday, October 19th & 20th, and Friday & Saturday, October 26th & 27th, 2018 , at the PCSO old jail located at 455 North Broadway Avenue in Bartow (across the street from Bartow P.D.), PCSO volunteers will present "Asylum."

For the little ones who are too young to go through the haunted jail, there will be a separate room with treats and games! Bring the whole family for a night of fun.

Food and drink will be on sale every night.
The cost to go on the tour is a $6.00 donation with all proceeds benefiting the United Way of Central Florida. 
Visitors will be taken through several areas, while being entertained with stories about the mythical "asylum" - including "fictional wards" and cells within the jail. 
This is a fun event each year, and we also raise money for charity. Enter - if you dare!
Save the Date!

There are only 25 more Saturdays until our favorite jeeping event! Jeepin' With Sheriff Judd is scheduled for February 22-24, 2019. 

Click here to visit our website and learn more about how to become a sponsor, vendor, or attendee. Admission is free for everyone, but those who wish to register for a course will have to donate to Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc. We always have some great raffle prizes too! We can't wait to see you there! 
Sheriff Grady Judd

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