Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd spoke Friday calling himself “mortified” and “heartbroken,” about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Judd held up one of his cards showing a picture of two Polk County deputies in a school hallway with guns and summed up PSCO’s school safety policy in what he called “Polk County vernacular.”
Judd addressed his office’s procedures for situations in the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Judd said as he is not mincing words when it comes to what his county and school district are willing to do to keep children safe from potential armed threats on school property.
“This is the last thing you’ll see before we put a bullet through your head if you’re trying to hurt our children. We’re going to shoot you graveyard dead.”
Here’s what Judd told reporters on Friday:
“If you come to a school in this county, armed, we’re going to do our best through either our guardians, our school resource officers, or our school resource deputy sheriffs to eliminate the threat outside of the school before they ever get to the children. We’re trained to do that.”
“This is the last thing you’ll see before we put a bullet through your head if you’re trying to hurt our children,” Judd said while holding a picture of two police officers carrying firearms. “We are going to shoot you graveyard dead if you come onto a campus, with a gun, threatening our children or shooting at us.”
Judd said his deputies are trained to go in directly after an active shooter.
The program trains school employees as armed personnel to respond to active shooter situations on school property, something Judd said is very important.
“When the threat is there and you dial 911 on that cellphone, we’re too late,” Judd said.
Judd cited data that shows the average police response is over five minutes. That’s opposed to an active shooting which he said takes just a few minutes on average.
“When seconds count, minutes don’t make any difference,” he said.
The program was established as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which was passed after the 2018 shooting in Parkland. The main goal of the bill was to increase school safety measures.
He said many of those measures enacted in that piece of legislation were already being done in Polk County prior to 2018.
“When you take your kids to school healthy and well in the morning, you have every right and expectation to receive them back in the afternoon in the same healthy state you delivered them in,” Judd said.
The sheriff was joined on stage by Ryan Petty, a Florida father whose daughter died in Parkland, Florida, shooting on February 14, 2018. Petty is now an activist working to keep schools safe.
Petty advocates allowing teachers to carry firearms in school.
Since the year 2000, there has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6:00 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns. 2/ https://t.co/fivocF5EQD
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) May 27, 2022
“People fear teachers irresponsibly using guns or students obtaining a teacher’s gun. But none of that has happened. There has been only one accidental discharge by a teacher in recent years, and that was outside of school hours.”
He added while sharing a photo of himself with Grady during Friday’s event:
“In Florida, we have the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program with rigorous training requirements. I’ve been through the training. It was tough and Guardians are required to pass marksmanship training with a higher proficiency score than law enforcement.”
In Florida, we have the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program with rigorous training requirements. I’ve been through the training. It was tough and Guardians are required to pass marksmanship training with a higher proficiency score than law enforcement. 4/ pic.twitter.com/cDjCUGrPia
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) May 27, 2022
Judd’s remarks can be seen here:
Sheriff Judd mixes no words (Polk County vernacular) when it comes to letting you know how he feels about keeping kids safe. We’re praying for Uvalde. Have a safe and happy summer everyone. #PrayersForUvalde #UnitedWithUvalde pic.twitter.com/E7swt5oT55
— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 Grady Judd (@PolkCoSheriff) May 27, 2022
Judd emphasized they’re always looking for ways to improve, but overall he feels Florida law enforcement is “light years” ahead of other states in terms of active shooter training.