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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

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

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Nov 18, 2022

2 store clerks arrested for illegal alcohol sales during PCSO operation

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

On Thursday, November 17, 2022, deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office continued their "Operation Pop-Top" campaign, in which they visit multiple retailers to ensure that alcoholic beverages were not being sold to anyone under 21 years of age, in accordance with Florida law. 

The deputies made stops at seven stores, but two of them weren't in compliance.

"We do these checks often. Deputies are assisted by PCSO Explorers who go into the stores and attempt to buy an alcoholic drink. The store employees need to be responsible by checking ID's and refusing to sell alcohol to those under 21." - Grady Judd, Sheriff.

The Explorers program consists of high schoolers who are interested in a career in law enforcement. 

On Thursday, the Explorer who assisted deputies was only 17 years old.

The stores checked were in Haines City, Lake Hamilton, Dundee, and Lake Wales.

Deputies arrested Brittany Evans, 32 (RaceTrac, 32886 US 27, Haines City), and Timothy Vega, 19 (RaceTrac, 2422 US 27, Lake Wales). Both were charged with Selling Alcohol to a Person Under 21 (a misdemeanor).