The many sides of Polk Sheriff Grady Judd - WFLA News Channel 8

The many sides of Polk Sheriff Grady Judd

Posted: Updated:
POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

If you're a regular news watcher, you have doubtless seen a lot of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

He is not camera shy, and is never afraid to tell you exactly the way he sees things.

He would tell you he's a little more Matt Dillon than his Wyatt Earp "Tombstone" image.  And he's a little more creative than his perfectly startched uniform might suggest. 

"I wanted to be the sheriff since I was an itty bitty guy," Judd said.

His roots in Polk County are deep. He grew up on Combie Road, a place where he told the neighborhood kids about his future.

"I'm going to be the sheriff one day, they'd say, oh they're not going to let somebody from Combie Road be sheriff," he said.

It was a passion that he put into play as a teenager, riding along with paramedics as an EMT.

"I delivered my first baby, can you believe that?" said Judd.

That excitement and adrenaline rush is still what wakes him up before the alarm goes off most days. When big stories break, Sheriff Judd is right in the middle of it.

When deputies fired dozens of rounds at a man who had killed one of their own, the sheriff was asked why deputies shot the suspect sixty eight times. 

Judd replied, "Because we ran out of bullets."  His response got the attention of the nation.

He also claims to be cheap.  Saving money is his top priority.  He even decided inmates would no longer be supplied with free underwear.

"For those who want underwear, they buy underwear. For those who don't, they can let the breeze blow up one leg and down the other," Judd explained.

The move saved the jail almost $50,000.  When Judd decided the days of "free" lunch were over, he ended up saving another $200,000.

"If you want to have peanut butter and jelly, and have sodas to drink and coffee with your breakfast and real eggs instead of egg patties - stay out of jail," Judd said.

He practices what he professes. In his office, simple photos adore his walls in lieu of expensive artwork.

Outside of the office, Judd and his wife of 40 years, Marissa, spend their time on the beautiful lakes of Polk County. In many ways it is a sanctuary for them.  Sheriff Judd has even developed a passion for taking pictures of the wildlife in his free time.

Grady and Marissa met when they were 17, and married a year later. They have depended on each other ever since.

"I'm in charge of the sheriff's office. She's in charge of everything else," said Judd.

Small in stature, but no shrinking violet, Marissa runs the business of their lives. She has no patience for being bossed around, even by the sheriff.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
  • NewsMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • Polk residents told to stop cutting their grass near the water

    Polk residents told to stop cutting their grass near the water

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:31 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:31:14 GMT
    Mark Vandertie wants a safer path for his grandchildren to walk to the water at his new Island Lakes home in Winter Haven but the builder told him not to cut anymore because it's a wetlands violation.Mark Vandertie wants a safer path for his grandchildren to walk to the water at his new Island Lakes home in Winter Haven but the builder told him not to cut anymore because it's a wetlands violation.
    Some Winter Haven homeowners are waist high in weeds as they wait for answers on whether they can cut their backyards.About a month ago, the Island Lakes Homeowners Association and Southwest Florida Water Management District told some 40 homeowners to stop cutting the grass near the water.
    Some Winter Haven homeowners are waist high in weeds as they wait for answers on whether they can cut their backyards.About a month ago, the Island Lakes Homeowners Association and Southwest Florida Water Management District told some 40 homeowners to stop cutting the grass near the water.
  • 4 - 5,000 attend Snooty's 66th birthday bash

    4 - 5,000 attend Snooty's 66th birthday bash

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:03:55 GMT
    Snooty’s 66th birthday “cake”  was made from cabbage, strawberries, pineapple, sweet potatoes and beets. South Florida Museum photoSnooty’s 66th birthday “cake” was made from cabbage, strawberries, pineapple, sweet potatoes and beets. South Florida Museum photo
    Imagine 4,000 people coming to your birthday party. That's about how many people showed up to celebrate the 66th birthday of Tampa Bay's beloved Snooty the manatee. 
    Imagine 4,000 people coming to your birthday party. That's about how many people showed up to celebrate the 66th birthday of Tampa Bay's beloved Snooty the manatee. 
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • New surveillance shows Tampa boy's death as hit and run

    New surveillance shows Tampa boy's death as hit and run

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:51 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:51:45 GMT
    A still image from a business surveillance camera shows what appears to be a small boy running on the sidewalk.A still image from a business surveillance camera shows what appears to be a small boy running on the sidewalk.
    New surveillance video has Tampa Police investigating 4-year-old Marterrance Albury's death as a hit and run. 
    New surveillance video has Tampa Police investigating 4-year-old Marterrance Albury's death as a hit and run. 
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.