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Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.
PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at PIOs@polksheriff.org.
The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of 21-year-old Deputy Sheriff Blane Lane, who died in the line of duty on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, during a deputy-involved shooting.
This information is preliminary, based upon the investigation so far:
At 2:07 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a Heartland Crime Stoppers tip that Cheryl Lynn Williams, DOB 5/30/76, who had an outstanding felony warrant for failure to appear on a possession of methamphetamine charge was at 4345 Foxtown South in Polk City. Williams has a criminal history that includes 11 felonies and four misdemeanors, and she spent 9 years in the Florida state prison system out of an 11-year sentence for trafficking in meth.
Sergeant Michael Brooks, and Deputies Johnny Holsonback III, Adam Pennell, and Blane Lane arrived at the scene, and at 3:08 a.m., they advised that shots were fired. Deputy Lane, 21 years old, was shot in the left arm, and the round entered his chest. As a result, he died at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.
The first witness at the trailer home told the deputies when they arrived at the front door that Williams was at the back door. The second witness who was at the back door told them, “She’s in here” and all of the deputies except Lane went inside. Lane took up a tactical position outside the trailer near the front side. Lane’s tactical position afforded him the view of the door and windows to ensure that he would see the suspect in the event she tried to flee.
The deputies approached a “gaming” room and initially did not see anyone in the room. Williams then stepped into view armed with a silver handgun which she immediately pointed at them. Shots were fired and the suspect went down. Lane then reported that he had been shot in his arm. He was transported to LRHMC. Williams was also transported to a local hospital to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds. She is in stable condition.
Deputies interviewed the second witness after-the-fact, who told them that when Williams realized the deputies were there, she picked up the handgun and walked away from him. He told her, “You don’t want to do that,” and she replied, “Let them in.”
The handgun turned out to be a very realistic-looking BB gun.
According to the early investigation, it appears that both Sergeant Brooks and Deputy Holsonback fired their agency-issued firearms. The round that struck Lane came from one of their firearms.
Deputy Sheriff Blane Lane was 21 years old and lived in Fort Meade. He entered the Polk State College KCTIPS dual law enforcement-detention academy in September 2020, graduated, and was hired as a Detention Deputy in May 2021. He became a Deputy Sheriff in January 2022, and was assigned to Northwest District Patrol.
Cheryl Williams will be charged with felony second degree murder, among other charges, upon her release from the hospital. This investigation is ongoing.
PCSO will plan a line-of-duty death funeral with full law enforcement honors, and that information will be released at a later date. Please keep Deputy Lane’s family and our PCSO family in your prayers during this difficult time.