January 2006

in this issue
  • A Note from Sheriff Judd
  • PCSO Juvenile Boot Camp Earns "Deemed" Status
  • Crime Stoppers Cards Elicit Tips From Inmates
  • Law Enforcement Reserve Academy in the Works

  • PCSO Juvenile Boot Camp Earns "Deemed" Status

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Boot Camp recently received one of the highest ratings ever in the state during a quality insurance review and evaluation conducted by inspectors with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

    Following a thorough on-site inspection, the PCSO Boot Camp was awarded the highest possible standing of "Deemed" status (for the 3rd consecutive time). The Boot Camp was given scores of 90 for performance standards and 97 for compliance standards, which is the highest ever granted in the state. Due to the high marks earned in this evaluation, the PCSO Boot Camp will not be required to undergo the annual evaluation again next year, but will retain Deemed status for an extended two-year cycle. Additionally, the Boot Camp's Medical and Mental Health Section earned a rating of “exceptional performance.”

    The PCSO Boot Camp—located at 2325 Bob Phillips Road in Bartow—serves boys, ages 14 to 18, who have been adjudicated guilty by a judge. The program mission is to provide a balanced approach that changes the criminal beliefs and behavior of the offenders, increases public safety, provides department and offender accountability, and affords the opportunity for youth to develop into responsible citizens.

    Crime Stoppers Cards Elicit Tips From Inmates

    With the goal of coaxing tips from jail inmates in an effort to help solve crimes and track down wanted criminals, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is working hand-in-hand with Heartland County Crime Stoppers (Polk, Hardee, and Highlands Counties) to reach out to inmates with a deck of playing cards that feature most wanted fugitives and unsolved cases.

    Under Sheriff Grady Judd’s direction, the Sheriff’s Office partnered with Polk Crime Stoppers to create and produce two decks of Crime Stoppers playing cards that are handed out to inmates in the jail system. One card deck features photos and information on the top 13 most wanted Polk fugitives, and the second deck features information about unsolved homicide cases.

    “The goal of this effort is to reach out to the inmate population, offer them a cash reward, and hopefully increase the number of Crime Stoppers tips about crimes and wanted criminals,” said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd. “Those of us in law enforcement know that criminals have a tendency to talk about their crimes and keep tabs on each other. We hope to tap into that pool of information to solve more crimes and track down more wanted fugitives.”

    The playing cards – funded through a Crime Stoppers grant - are provided free of charge to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and are handed out to inmates by jail counselors.

    Law Enforcement Reserve Academy in the Works

    A Law Enforcement Auxiliary (Reserve) Academy— designed to provide the basic law enforcement training required to serve as a reserve law enforcement officer— is in the works at Polk Community College’s Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety.

    The 6-month long academy would provide the state- required training and certification necessary to serve as a reserve/auxiliary law enforcement officer in Florida. Classes would be offered in the evenings to help accommodate work schedules. Upon graduation, candidates will possess the required training and certification to serve as reserve/ volunteer with full law enforcement powers, when under the supervision of a full-time officer. The program is in the planning and implementation stages, and could possibly be offered in early 2006. Interested participants should contact Mark LeVine or Belinda Brown at 863-297-1030.

    The Sheriff’s Office strongly supports the Law Enforcement Reserve program in recognition of the critically important support role reserve deputies provide to local law enforcement. We incorporate reserve deputies into our agency's law enforcement services in a variety of assignments and opportunities. All training, equipment, and uniforms are provided by the Sheriff’s Office. For more information about the PCSO Reserve Program, contact the Human Resources Division at 863-535-1900.

    A Note from Sheriff Judd

    As members of law enforcement, we witness first- hand the destructive and tragic consequences of drunk driving. Last year, more than a thousand innocent lives were lost due to alcohol-related traffic crashes in Florida.

    I recently attended a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) candle vigil in December, and listened as family members shared memories of loved ones lost to drunk driving. I was reminded once again of the heavy price of impaired driving: families, friends, and the community as a whole suffers when drunk drivers get behind the wheel.

    As Sheriff, I pledge that we will do our part to reduce impaired driving and save lives, and we will do everything in our power to insure that our roadways are safe. This recent holiday season, in partnership with the Polk Community Traffic Safety Team and local law enforcement agencies, we conducted special DUI enforcement operations to identify and arrest impaired drivers as part of Florida’s “You Drink & Drive, You Lose” DUI enforcement mobilization. The enforcement effort included DUI saturation patrols and enforcement operations throughout Polk County.

    As we begin a new year, our efforts to combat drunk and impaired driving will continue to be a top priority. Those who choose to drink and drive will be targeted, and they will go to the county jail. I encourage everyone to act responsibly - if you intend to drink, make arrangements to get home safely. Please use a designated driver, public transportation, or a taxi. Remember, we all lose when someone drinks and drives, so let's work together to save precious lives.

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    Sheriff's Office Holds Christmas Party for Girls Youth Villa

    Polk County Sheriff's Office members held a special Christmas party in December for a group of 33 girls who live at the local Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches facility for girls. A special appearance by Santa kicked off the Christmas party featuring refreshments and gifts for the Girls Villa residents, who range in age from 6-17. The party was held at the Girls Villa, which is located on State Road 60 East near Bartow. The festivities were made possible by donations from Sheriff's Office employees and a local business. The Sheriff's Office "adopted" the 33 female residents for the Christmas season, and each girl received a gift certificate redeemable at any store in a local shopping mall.


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