POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — When Ruth Sanchez got to work Monday in the front office at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Winter Haven, there was already a line of about a dozen people.
“Everybody’s getting crazy. I’m so excited about it. I got the first one, of course,” she said. “It’s my first year selling them here, and it was so exciting.”
In the morning, the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook that the Grady Judd-themed “Sheriff on the Shelf” dolls were again on sale.
Last year, the dolls sold out in a few hours.
“I’ve been waiting for a couple of years. I kept missing the sale, so I was excited to see it today and ran out here to get my two,” said Susan Doucett, who lives in Auburndale.
Doucett said she had been reaching out to the sheriff’s office, inquiring about the sale date.
Mark Brewer has also missed the sale before. This time, he had an inside source let him know they were on sale.
“I have a friend that works at the sheriff’s office, and she sent it to me in a text message, or I wouldn’t have known,” said Brewer.
He bought five.
The dolls are being sold at the main sheriff’s office in Winter Haven, the county jail in Bartow, and the five substations.
The addresses for the substations are:
Central District, 3935 Avenue G NW, Winter Haven
Southeast District, 4011 Sgt. Mary Campbell Way, Lake Wales
Northeast District, 1100 Dunson Rd, Davenport
Northwest District, 1045 Wedgewood Estates Blvd, Lakeland (north)
Southwest District, 4120 US Hwy 98 South AKA Bartow Rd, Lakeland (south)
“I’ve heard people say he’s not even a Christmas item – they just like having him in their house,” said Carrie Horstman, a public information officer with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. “I think a lot of parents like that aspect of it – Sheriff Judd’s watching you.”
Demand is high across the country, with many asking for the items to be shipped. However, the sheriff’s office does not ship the merchandise. It also does not announce the sale date in advance due to its popularity.
One time, the sheriff’s office pre-announced a sale and chaos ensued.
“We put in the post, ‘Hey, these are going on sale Monday,’ and they still came to the location two days prior begging for the bobblehead or this Sheriff on the Shelf. We almost can’t preview it because people are going to show up, and then they’re going to be angry they can’t get the item,” said Horstman.
Instead, they make a Facebook post, say the items are available and sell them until they run out.
Monday started with 1,500 Sheriff on a Shelf dolls.
The proceeds go to Polk Sheriff’s Charities, which is giving away Thanksgiving turkeys on Saturday.
“Polk Sheriff’s Charities pays for those turkeys. Polk Sheriff’s Charities pays for toys and gifts for kids at Christmas to support families of fallen deputies and officers,” said Horstman.
The free turkeys will be distributed at these times and locations:
East Polk: 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Church on the Hill, 1111 Scenic Hwy, Dundee;
Central Polk: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Lake Region High School campus, 1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake;
West Polk: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Lakes Church (AKA Church at the Mall), 1010 East Memorial Blvd, Lakeland;