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Polk County Sheriff's Office

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is never at a loss for words or opinions on criminal behavior. He has recently played a major role in the response to the school shooting in Parkland.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with Sheriff Judd as part of our ongoing “Newsmaker” series.


Polk County Sheriff's Office Facebook

This week on Florida Matters we're hosting another edition of our ongoing "Newsmaker" series. We talk with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd about a number of issues, including the programs his department runs that train and arm staff members in schools to fend off active shooters.


A 13-year-old Florida boy has been involuntarily hospitalized for a second time after telling deputies he wanted to be the next school shooter.

Polk County Sheriff's deputies said they found the teen passed out on a sidewalk early Saturday. He told them he drank an entire bottle stolen from his parents' liquor cabinet and took a bunch of "happy pills," according to a news release sent Tuesday.

Polk County Sheriff's Office

Authorities say a Kentucky man shot two relatives he was visiting in Florida before turning the gun on himself.

In a statement Sunday, Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman Brian Bruchey said deputies found two men dead and one woman injured at a Polk City home Saturday evening.

Polk County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Lakeland attorney John Shannon and his two daughters were among five people killed in the crash of a twin-engine plane at the Bartow Municipal Airport Sunday morning.

Alex Cook

A worker has died from apparent electrocution at a Polk County distillery.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Forensic artists at a recent workshop hosted by the University of South Florida wrapped up their week of work by presenting their creations - fourteen clay busts of unidentified victims in cold cases - to local law enforcement.

But in the middle of their presentation, a woman looking at one of the works at the rear of a downtown Tampa conference room broke down sobbing, sure that the face staring back at her was that of her sister, some thirty-eight years after she went missing.

Polk County Sheriff's Office

The autopsy results for 65-year-old Polk County inmate Keith Harrison are in. Authorities said he was found unresponsive in the medical dorm of the South County jail on Sunday morning. 

And Polk County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Carrie Horstman said the autopsy results are consistent with a death from chronic medical problems.  

A toddler died Tuesday afternoon after he was found by his mother face down and unresponsive in a kiddie pool, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Ashley Norman told investigators she had left her 18-month-old son Cedric Phipps in a baby swing while she went across the street to check on other children. When she returned, the boy was in the pool.

Family members and neighbors called 911 and attempted CPR.

Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilder said paramedics attempted to resuscitate Cedric on the way to the hospital, but the boy was declared dead.

Over the past 15 years in Polk County, more than half of the rape kits collected in criminal cases remain untested in evidence rooms, the

Polk County Sheriff's Offic

Police have arrested an 82-year-old Lake Wales man for slashing a woman’s tires because he claimed she was sitting in his favorite bingo seat.

Fred Smith faces a charge of criminal mischief after police say he took an ice pick to 88-year-old Ethel Britt’s van during a weekly bingo game at the Lake Ashton Retirement Community Club House.

Police say Smith stormed out of the bingo hall and punctured two of Britt’s tires because she was sitting in a chair he usually sits in. Smith was caught on surveillance video in the act.

wlrn.org

The mother of a 13-year-old girl who authorities say jumped to her death because she was bullied is suing the Polk County School Board, a construction materials company and a teenager accused of stalking her daughter.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Polk County.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE at 8:30 p.m. May 27: Law enforcement officials now say David Eugene Smith, a suspect in a triple murder in Lakeland, has died at a Tennessee hospital from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

UPDATE at 2:55 p.m. May 27: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says police in Knoxville, Tennessee, have taken David Eugene Smith, a suspect in a triple murder in Lakeland, into custody.

A class action lawsuit against the Polk County Sheriff and the agency's treatment of juvenile detainees is underway in federal court in Tampa.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit against Polk Sheriff Grady Judd and Corizon, a company the sheriff contracts with to provide inmates with medical care.

The infamous Florida pastor, Terry Jones, was arrested in Mulberry, Fla., today, right before he planned to burn 2,998 Qurans on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Tampa Tribune reports:

"When he and another pastor were pulled over by Polk County sheriff's deputies near the small town of Mulberry, their pickup bed was full of kerosene-soaked Qurans - and they were towing a large, barbeque-style grill behind the truck.

TAMPA - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is back in the news - this time, he's been sued for jailing minors near adults.

That's according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group argues that putting minors as young as 8 in the same building with adults is a violation of their rights. Members declined to say why any of the minors had been arrested.

Lisa and Kevin Jobe say their 15-year-old son was mistreated at the jail. The couple spoke earlier today on the steps of the Tampa Federal courthouse.