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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.

Mar 24, 2023

Former detention deputy arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for fraudulently collecting overtime pay

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

A former detention deputy with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested by the PCSO, after an investigation determined he had stolen thousands of dollars by falsely claiming overtime hours that he did not work.

33-year old Bruce West, Jr. was arrested Thursday, March 23, 2023 at the Central County Jail in Bartow where he was assigned, after he admitted to the Sheriff’s detective that he had falsified time cards.

The investigation showed that West had falsely claimed overtime hours resulting in a total of $15,357 of unearned money being embezzled by West.

“It’s a major disappointment when someone working in law enforcement runs afoul of the law, but it stings even more when it’s someone within your own work family. He knew better and still betrayed his co-workers, his profession, and the taxpayers of Polk County, and we arrested him.—we intend to not only hold him criminally accountable, but also to recover taxpayers’ money.”Grady Judd, Sheriff

Bruce West, Jr. was charged with: Grand Theft Between $10,000 & $20,000 (F3), Obtain Property by Fraud Less than $20,000 (F3), and False Entries to Corporate Books (F3).

West was hired by the PCSO as a detention deputy on August 30, 2021 and was sworn in on October 19, 2021. He resigned upon his arrest, but had he not, his employment would have been terminated.