The many sides of Polk Sheriff Grady Judd - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

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>>

  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:54 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:54:32 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Dead fish creating problems on Honeymoon Island

    Dead fish creating problems on Honeymoon Island

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 19:18:30 GMT
    Red Tide spotted on the shore of Honeymoon Island.Red Tide spotted on the shore of Honeymoon Island.
    Scattered on the shore of Honeymoon Island in Pinellas county are hundreds of dead fish.Park rangers started noticing the fish wash on shore on Friday, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year."In some spots it scattered and as you move up north on the beach it's up in the hundreds of fish," said park manager Pete Krulder.
    Scattered on the shore of Honeymoon Island in Pinellas county are hundreds of dead fish.Park rangers started noticing the fish wash on shore on Friday, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year."In some spots it scattered and as you move up north on the beach it's up in the hundreds of fish," said park manager Pete Krulder.
  • Legoland unveils new character corner

    Legoland unveils new character corner

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:27 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:27:56 GMT
    Photo: Legoland Florida ResortPhoto: Legoland Florida Resort
    On Tuesday, Legoland has announced a new way for guests to meet and mingle with their favorite Lego characters, titled Buddy's Character Corner!
    On Tuesday, Legoland has announced a new way for guests to meet and mingle with their favorite Lego characters, titled Buddy's Character Corner!
  • Largo teacher arrested for DUI in Labor Day crash

    Largo teacher arrested for DUI in Labor Day crash

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:42:58 GMT
    A Largo middle school teacher was charged with DUI on Monday after being involved in a five-car crash.
    A Largo middle school teacher was charged with DUI on Monday after being involved in a five-car crash.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

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