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Best Sheriff in the Country
My husband and I heard our sheriff, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, speak this morning. Polk County’s crime stats go down every year. Even with the massive influx into our county of people from the Northeast over the last two years, they have continued to go down. The stats for 2022 were at a 50-year low – all due to the philosophy and programs of Sheriff Judd.
He believes that law-abiding citizens are his to protect and they deserve more consideration than the people who prefer to take rather than to earn. His deputies have arrested a person for shoplifting a $2.19 soda. The “broken windows” philosophy of law enforcement is effective. A little different than in California, where people can steal up to $950 with little fear of arrest.
I-4 has earned the designation as the nation’s most dangerous interstate for several years. Because of that, Sheriff Judd implemented unmarked police cars on the portion of I4 in Polk County. Last year, they stopped 8,000+ drivers and arrested and took to jail 200+ who were driving in excess of 100 mph and recklessly weaving in and out of traffic. These drivers had to return to Florida for trial and either received probation or jail time, depending on their offense.
He implemented a six-month undercover drug investigation called Swipe Left for Meth, which identified 68 people who conducted drug sales on three social media and mobile dating apps: Grindr, Scruff, and Taimi. In 2022, 60 people were arrested for drug sales and the other eight on previous warrants.
Since his first election in 2004, when in a three-way race received 64% of the vote, he has been re-elected every four years with over 95% of the vote. That is until 2020, when he ran unopposed.
He has received attention for memorable quotes and I enjoy them as much as the next person. However, his more important activities are educating and equipping his staff and deputies with the tools and procedures they need to efficiently and safely do the work of protecting the residents of Polk County.
“Sheriff Judd was the first recipient of the inaugural ‘Sandra S. Hutchens Sheriff of the Year’ award, presented by the Major County Sheriffs of America in February 2022 at the MCSA 2022 Winter Conference. The award was given to Sheriff Judd in praise of his ‘steady leadership, mentorship, and friendship at the helm of MCSA [which] gave this association a visionary foundation for growth to ‘Lead the Way’ in the profession of law enforcement.’ The MCSA, established in 1998, is a professional law enforcement association of the 113 largest sheriff’s offices representing counties or parishes with a population of 500,000 or more.” — Lakeland Ledger
Florida has a great governor and Polk County has a great sheriff. (But please don’t move here. Our traffic will just get worse!)Published in Policing
Love this guy’s relentless public engagement. Not every moment is a hit, but every hit is a home run.
Making #FAFO Great Again!
Great post, EB! I hope Sheriff Judd lives to be 100! Can’t imagine Polk County without him!
Our sheriff just announced he’s retiring and not running for re-election. Can we clone Judd and bring it here?
Polk County is just to the southwest of Orange County, whose County Seat is Orlando.
He looks like a fairly young guy, which is good. Hopefully he doesn’t stay beyond his “best by” date, like Sheriff Arpaio did in Arizona.
On the other hand, there are counterpoints. Why does Sheriff Judd not have body cameras for his deputies?
Arpaio was first elected sheriff in 1993 at the age of 61. His 24-year career as sheriff was rife with abuses of power from the beginning when he implemented a tent city prison in 1993, chain gangs in 1995, female chain gangs in 1996, an armed illegal immigration posse in 2010, and his crimes continued to mount throughout his entire career.
Starting as early as 2000, credible claims began surfacing that his office failed to investigate sex abuse crimes and then cleared the cases without even attempting to identify suspects – probably because he was too busy appearing on television and being interviewed for magazine articles. He was an insatiable publicity hound.
He used his office to target political opponents including numerous Maricopa County judges, County supervisors, and employees of the County Board of Supervisors. In 2010, a grand jury dismissed all of these charges. The county was then sued and lost every case. The county paid settlement costs and legal costs of over $13,000,000.
The list of his criminal behavior goes on and on. He is not someone who stayed on the job too long. He was never a good sheriff.
So, why was he so popular with the public?
And you know who else is on TV a lot? Grady Judd.
Also his deputies seem to pop up on youtube fairly often, misbehaving.
Sheriff Judd is not on TV a lot because he pursues interview spots and “reality” TV shows. He is on TV because his informational announcements and press conferences (all normal parts of a sheriff’s job) get covered.
I like him, I like our crime stats, and I like the fact that we aren’t paying out millions of dollars in settlements for abuse of power and personal vendettas. I like the fact that he has had a stellar 50-year career with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office – no abuse of power, no corruption, no negligence. Grady Judd is not breaking the law, he’s enforcing it and protecting the people who live here.
I find it interesting that you seem to defend Arpaio, who had a 24-year career of abuse of power and dereliction of his duty as an officer of the law by saying that Sheriff Grady’s press conferences are popular and that not every single Polk County deputy is perfect. It should be noted that Sheriff Judd has a pretty good record of disciplining and dismissing deputies that do not perform up to standard.
Most sheriffs and police departments have information offices and officers to handle that.
I lived in AZ from 2000-2017. I agree he overstayed and ignored abuses. However I found no issue with tent cities, pink underwear or chain gangs.
Then shouldn’t he be the one insisting they have and use body cameras? Why do they only seem to get caught misbehaving by others with cameras?
What demographic is moving down from the Northeast? Do you suffer a delusional fear of retired insurance salesmen doing drive-bys from their golf carts? Or do you think that, being unarmed easy targets, they will attract criminals from Orlando and Tampa?
Communication with the public is not something that should be handled.
What makes you think someone like Judd isn’t “handling” it?
I like it when the office holder meets the public and the press.
But he could still be editing and presenting information in the same way that any press secretary would. i.e., “handling” it.
I appreciate the difference between an official handling (even “handling”) his own business vs. sending some professional lackey out to lie for him and deflect.
Insert picture of Raggedy Anntifa here.