The Cyber Star a PCSO e-newsletter
May 2005


in this issue
  • Study Finds Inmate Drug Treatment Program A Success
  • "Polk Sheriff 24/7" Show Premiers On PGTV
  • PCSO Seeking Volunteers
  • A Note From Sheriff Judd

    "Polk Sheriff 24/7" Show Premiers On PGTV
    A new cable TV program "Polk Sheriff 24/7" premiered in April on PGTV (Polk Government TV). The new 1/2- hour TV program showcases the various facets of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, offering viewers a first-hand look at our agency's crime fighting operations. Through the monthly program, viewers will get to meet our Sheriff's Office team - the deputy sheriffs who patrol the streets, detention deputies who keep criminals in jail, and those who work behind the scenes to make it all happen. Specialty units such as K-9, crime scene, aviation, detectives and more also will be featured.

    "Here at the Polk Sheriff's Office, we work around the clock to keep citizens safe - and this new TV show will offer a unique opportunity for citizens of this county to get to know us a little better," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "As sheriff, fighting crime and keeping the citizens of this county safe are my greatest priorities. And this new show will offer viewers the chance to join us in that fight." Each 30- minute show will include features on current Sheriff's Office programs and events, a "spotlight" on a Sheriff's Office unit or member, a crime prevention segment with helpful tips to keep residents safe from crime, and a highlight of the county's Top Most Wanted criminals.

    The show will air on PGTV the following days and times during the month of May: Sundays at 7:30 am; Mondays at 10 pm; Tuesdays at 4 am; Wednesdays at 7 pm; Thursdays at 3 am; Fridays at 12:30 am; Saturdays at 9:30 pm


    PCSO Seeking Volunteers
    The Polk Sheriff's Office is actively seeking volunteers willing to partner with us in the fight against crime. Establishing a volunteer support group is a top priority, and is essential to the Sheriff's Office mission of reducing and preventing crime. Through the effective use of support volunteers, the Sheriff's Office will be better able to provide additional and improved services to the community at great savings to the taxpayers.

    Through the Sheriff's Office volunteer program, volunteers will be given the opportunity to serve in a variety of rewarding and exciting support capacities throughout the agency, such as: processing crime scenes and canvassing neighborhoods; data tracking of sexual predators and offenders; assisting animal control; mentoring Juvenile Boot Camp recruits; assisting School Resource Officers in the schools; providing fingerprint services; participating in the Seniors vs Crime program, and performing numerous clerical and other data entry duties. A "Volunteer Posse" also is in the works, and will feature volunteers who are available for call-out to search for lost, missing and/or endangered persons and help with evidence searches. Anyone interested in being a volunteer should contact Bruce Hennecy, PCSO Supervisor of Volunteer Services, at 863.534.6683.


    A Note From Sheriff Judd

    As Sheriff, protecting the children of this county is a top priority, and I am absolutely committed to doing whatever it takes to keep our kids safe. I know that recent tragic cases of child abduction and murder have propelled the issue of child safety to the forefront of concern for parents. I want to assure you that here at the Polk Sheriff's Office, we are taking action to help prevent future tragedies involving our children. To that end, we have formed an active special unit of our finest detectives dedicated to tracking and monitoring sexual offenders and predators. If we find out a sexual offender or predator is not living where they are suppose to be or has failed to properly register, we track them down and arrest them. If a sexual offender moves into your neighborhood, we make sure you know who they are and where they are living.

    The time to act is now - before a child has been lost. That is why it is so extremely important for you, as parents and concerned community members, to partner with us and teach your children important safety lessons and tips. Child safety starts at home, and parents stand as the first line of defense. This includes not only teaching children how to deal with suspicious strangers, but also how to deal with those predators who are not strangers. It's a sad fact that in a large portion of abuse or abduction cases, the offender is someone the child knows and trusts. We encourage parents to create a safe environment for children, where they can have frank and honest discussions about how to handle dangerous situations. Listen to your child's concerns and reassure them that you are there to protect them. Tell your child it is OK to say no to an adult when they feel uncomfortable.

    The members of the Polk Sheriff's Office are dedicated to keeping you and your family safe and free from crime. For more information, call the Polk Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Child Safety Section at 534-6677. Please partner with us in this critical mission, and together we can build safe communities for our children to live and play.

    Study Finds Inmate Drug Treatment Program A Success
    The facts are in and the news is good: a recent study of recidivism rates confirms the great success of the PCSO Department of Detention's inmate drug and alcohol treatment JASA (Jail Alternatives to Substance Abuse) program. A review of arrest statistics over the last 5 years (since the JASA program began) reveals that the program is indeed helping to keep released inmates from landing back in jail.

    A recent review of the program showed that of the 464 males who have graduated since the inception of the JASA program, 349 (or 76%) remained arrest-free for over one year, and 54% still have no re-arrest history to this day. These statistics are all the more impressive when compared to the program's minimum expected success rate of 25% (as determined by the grant requirements).

    The JASA program is a joint project of the Polk Sheriff's Office and Tri-County Human Services that was established with the goal of reducing drug- related criminal behaviors by focusing on changing the lifestyles of addicts. The program focuses on helping inmates cope with the disease of addiction, and learn better self-concept, anger management and communication skills. The goal is for the inmate to develop a positive and socially acceptable value and belief system during treatment.

    Combating drug-related crimes is a top priority for the Sheriff's Office: a study of Polk inmates in 2002 determined that 77% of all local jail inmates had either violated drug laws, were intoxicated during the commission of their crimes, had stolen property to buy drugs, and/or had a history of substance abuse and addiction. At that time, the economic benefit of inmates successfully completing drug treatment was determined to be approximately $68,000 per inmate in reduced crime, arrest, prosecution, incarceration, and health care costs. An independent auditor also determined that for every 50 inmates who graduate from the JASA program, taxpayers will see $1,000,000 in savings as those graduates do not return to jail.

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    Police Week In observance of National Police Week, the 18th Annual Polk County Peace Officers Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2005. The memorial service - hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police Polk County Lodge 46 and the Polk County Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Inc. - will be held at 10 a.m. at the Polk County Law Enforcement Memorial located in the Lakeland Bicentennial Park. Prior to the memorial service, a brief dedication ceremony for the new Polk County Law Enforcement Memorial Expansion will take place. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as "Police Week." Memorial services are held throughout the nation honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.