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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

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

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Nov 29, 2023

Lakeland sales clerk arrested for selling alcohol to a 16-year old

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office conducted another round of Operation Pop Top checks at local stores that sell alcohol. These checks are frequently done to ensure that the stores and their sales clerks are refusing to sell alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2023, the deputies visited nine Lakeland stores; eight of the stores were compliant.

During these checks, the deputies were assisted by a 16-year old student who is a member of the PCSO Explorers, a program for students who are interested in a career in law enforcement.

The student was successful in her attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage at the Nick & Moe's store at 4418 Kathleen Road in Lakeland. 29-year old Sales clerk Jonathon Folsom was arrested and charged with selling alcoholic beverage to a person under 21.

"These checks really aren't surprise stops; we do them often throughout the county. It's no secret. The whole point of it is to make sure we don't have children purchasing alcoholic beverages at these stores. Sales clerks who ignore the law are going to be held accountable." - Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Deputies also checked two stores regarding the sale of kratom and found those stores to be in compliance.