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

  • NewsMore>>

  • One dead, one injured on beach after plane crash

    One dead, one injured on beach after plane crash

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:57 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:57:43 GMT
    Man killed and his daughter was critical injured when they were hit by a plane making a crash landing on Caspersen Beach in Venice.Man killed and his daughter was critical injured when they were hit by a plane making a crash landing on Caspersen Beach in Venice.
    An emergency landing by a small plane on Caspersen Beach in Venice claimed the life of a man walking with his young daughter Sunday, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.About 2:45 pm, Venice Airport contacted the sheriff's office regarding a small plane in distress that was unable to make it back to the airport, Sarasota County sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said in a news release. Instead the pilot was going to try to land on the beach.The 1972 Piper Cherokee airplane hit the man and...
    An emergency landing by a small plane on Caspersen Beach in Venice claimed the life of a man walking with his young daughter Sunday, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.About 2:45 pm, Venice Airport contacted the sheriff's office regarding a small plane in distress that was unable to make it back to the airport, Sarasota County sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said in a news release. Instead the pilot was going to try to land on the beach.The 1972 Piper Cherokee airplane hit the man and...
  • ATVs, trailer missing from Winter Haven home

    ATVs, trailer missing from Winter Haven home

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:13:05 GMT
    An ATV missing from a Winter Haven home.An ATV missing from a Winter Haven home.
    About 9 a.m. Sunday, a Winter Haven man discovered his 2006 12-foot black "Emerson" style trailer missing his yard on Roselawn St. SW. The trailer, decked out with 5 1/4 inch floor boards, had been taken overnight, the Winter Haven Police Department said. Two ATVs were on the trailer, the police department report said. One of the he ATVs was described as green/black 2005 Polaris MV7 with custom tracks in place of the tires. The second one is a tan/black 2002 Honda TRX250 2X4 with 25 inch...
    About 9 a.m. Sunday, a Winter Haven man discovered his 2006 12-foot black "Emerson" style trailer missing his yard on Roselawn St. SW. The trailer, decked out with 5 1/4 inch floor boards, had been taken overnight, the Winter Haven Police Department said. Two ATVs were on the trailer, the police department report said. One of the he ATVs was described as green/black 2005 Polaris MV7 with custom tracks in place of the tires. The second one is a tan/black 2002 Honda TRX250 2X4 with 25 inch...
  • Automated car tests close Selmon Expressway elevated lanes

    Automated car tests close Selmon Expressway elevated lanes

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:54:58 GMT
    The gray Audi is the self-driving vehicle.The gray Audi is the self-driving vehicle.
    BMW touts itself as the ultimate driving machine. Audi may want to start a campaign touting its cars as the ultimate machine you don't have to drive, until you hit 40-miles an hour. The company is testing automated or piloted driving tests in Tampa on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, to facilitate those tests, the Selmon Crosstown elevated lanes will be closed from 10 am till about 3:30 or 4pm. Sue Charzan with the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority says rush hour traffic should not be aff...
    BMW touts itself as the ultimate driving machine. Audi may want to start a campaign touting its cars as the ultimate machine you don't have to drive, until you hit 40-miles an hour. The company is testing automated or piloted driving tests in Tampa on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, to facilitate those tests, the Selmon Crosstown elevated lanes will be closed from 10 am till about 3:30 or 4pm. Sue Charzan with the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority says rush hour traffic should not be aff...
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Lakeland man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Lakeland man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Saturday, July 26 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-07-26 13:53:51 GMT
    Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.
    A Lakeland man, grieving his wife’s passing, has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.
    A Lakeland man, grieving his wife’s passing, has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.
  • Pregnant woman injured in accidental shooting

    Pregnant woman injured in accidental shooting

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:15:28 GMT
    Hernando County sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting of a five-month pregnant woman late Saturday.About 6:45 p.m. Saturday, theHernando County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center received a call about a shooting at20079 Suncrest Drive in Brooksville.Sheriff's deputies and Hernando County Fire Rescue emergency units responded to thescene, where they found Kathleen Hoover with a head injury, a ...
    Hernando County sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting of a five-month pregnant woman late Saturday.About 6:45 p.m. Saturday, theHernando County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center received a call about a shooting at20079 Suncrest Drive in Brooksville.Sheriff's deputies and Hernando County Fire Rescue emergency units responded to thescene, where they found Kathleen Hoover with a head injury, a ...
  • Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: July 14 -19

    Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: July 14 -19

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:38:43 GMT
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We’ve gathered details about the 30 Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from July 14 to 19, 2014.
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We’ve gathered details about the 30 Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from July 14 to 19, 2014.
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.