Former Lakeland Police Deputy Chief found safe after two day search

Polk County

UPDATE: Clarence Grier has been located safe in St.Petersburg.

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Lakeland Police Department have released a new video in hopes of finding a retired Lakeland Police Deputy Chief Clarence Grier.

“He is a pioneer in Polk County. He is one of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand in  law enforcement,” said Sheriff Grady Judd in the video.

Grier has been missing since Dec. 11 when he left a home in northwest
Lakeland at around 4:30 p.m.

“We have exhausted all our normal resources we use to find folks when they went missing. It is very critical now that the citizens come forward and help us,” said Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia.

Deputy Chief Grier’s 1998 Ford F-150
(Courtesy Lakeland Police Dept.)

Grier was driving a red 1998 Ford F-150 with tag ID49LX, and was last seen wearing jeans and a black jacket. He is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs about 160 pounds.

Grier has been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

His truck was seen Thursday morning north of Ocala on Jacksonville Road at County Road 326.

“Usually we find wanderers pretty quick so we fear that maybe in the Ocala area, maybe he’s lost in the Ocala National forest,” said Sheriff Judd. “He doesn’t have any identification information with him. He doesn’t have a cell phone to ping so we are desperate for people in the Ocala, Gainesville, north Florida area to help us out.”

Grier first joined Lakeland Police in 1963 and is now known as a cornerstone of Polk County law enforcement.

Nearly half a century ago, he met a young Grady Judd who was working on an ambulance.

Grier was helping a woman badly beaten by her husband, at a time when domestic violence laws didn’t exist.

“’If you don’t want to sign a complaint against him because I am and I’m going to arrest him’,” Judd remembers Grier telling her. “You fast forward 49 years and I still remember my first interaction with Officer Grier.”

Chief Garcia says Grier was a “man among men” when he was on the police force.

“He was always regarded as one of our very active, very physically fit officers. He was a role model to a lot of the young officers coming up,” said Chief Garcia.

Grier remains the highest ranking African American official ever to serve with Lakeland Police.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts to call 863-834-690

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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