Florida’s Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has issued a brutal warning to would-be school attackers, stating in no uncertain terms: “We’ll shoot you graveyard dead.”
The warning comes as the law enforcement response to the recent Uvalde, Texas, school shooting has been heavily scrutinized.
The police decision not to immediately storm the building has been questioned by community members who arrived on the scene of the Tuesday massacre.
In response to the Texas shooting, Sheriff Judd is making it clear his deputies won’t hesitate to act with lethal force to eliminate a deadly threat to innocent students in Polk County.
Judd discussed his agency’s policies for responding to an active shooter at a school in a Friday news conference.
“We’re going to do our best …. to eliminate the threat outside of the school before they ever get to the children,” said Judd.
“We’re trained to do that.”
Judd then explained his agency’s policies in more blunt terms, or, as he called it, “Polk County vernacular.”
He displayed an image of two sheriff’s deputies armed with AR-style rifles.
“This is the last thing you will see before we put a bullet in your head if you are trying to hurt our children,” Judd warned.
“We’re going to shoot you graveyard dead if you come onto a campus with a gun, threatening our children or shooting at us.”
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
Florida adopted the guardian program following the Parkland shooting on February 14, 2018.
The attacker in that instance was able to avoid contact with the school resource officer, and a commission recommended arming teachers as a line of classroom defense in the event that an attacker is able to get by an officer again.
The commission noted that armed teachers could have made a difference in the outcome of that heinous incident.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, head of the Parkland commission, said the investigation of the Parkland attack had changed his views on armed teachers.
He went from opposing the idea to supporting it.
“People need to keep an open mind to it, as the reality is that if someone else in that school had a gun it could have saved kids’ lives,” he said.