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Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.
PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at PIOs@polksheriff.org.
The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.
A clerk at a Bartow Citgo store was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff's Office on Friday, August 4, 2023, after he sold an alcoholic beverage to a 17-year old.
It was the only arrest Friday by deputies who were visiting multiple stores along with a 17-year old boy who was attempting to purchase alcohol at each stop.
The visits were a part of the ongoing PCSO campaign called Operation Pop Top. The goal is to ensure that all stores comply with state law regarding the selling of alcohol to only those who are 21-years of age and older.
The 17-year old is a member of the PCSO Explorers, a program for high school students who are interested in a career in law enforcement.
In total, the PCSO deputies made twelve stops at stores in Eagle Lake, Bartow, and Winter Haven.
36-year old Shijith Sasidharan, who works at the Bartow Citgo store at 125 80-Foot Road, was arrested and charged with Selling Alcohol to a Person Under 21, a misdemeanor.
"I am pleased with the eleven clerks who refused to sell alcohol to the minor. We will continue to carry-out these visits--it's our duty to ensure these stores are compliant with Florida law. The safety and wellbeing of the children of Polk County is ultimately what is at stake." - Grady Judd, Sheriff