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Polk County Sheriff’s Office provides ‘Safe Zones’ for child custody exchanges and e-commerce transactions

safe zone

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office provides 12 locations across Polk County where citizens can meet to exchange children during a custody exchange and where e-commerce transactions can take place.

The Florida Legislature passed a new law, HB 385/SB 580 (and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed) which requires Sheriff’s Offices to provide at least one “Safe Zone” to their communities. These zones, created to enhance the safety of parents and children during custody exchanges, are a measure in response to the unfortunate kidnapping and murder of Cassie Carli in 2022, during a child custody exchange.

Key Features of Safe Zones:

  • 24/7 Video Surveillance: Continuous monitoring with recordings retained for at least 45 days.
  • Adequate Lighting and Signage: Well-lit areas marked by signage or for easy identification.

“We have long had ‘safe zones’ for e-commerce transactions at substations across the county, and I think it is a great idea to have these areas available for safe child exchanges, too. We’ve seen the potential dangers during child custody exchanges, including instances of violence. This new law highlights the importance of safety in these situations. Although the law mandates one location, we’ve gone above and beyond with Safe Zones at 12 substations and jails. We applaud the governor and the legislature for enacting this law.”

 Grady Judd, Sheriff

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office already has designated “Safe Zones” at 12 Sheriff’s Office substations and jails across the county. We encourage the community to use these zones not only for child custody exchanges, but for any and all meet ups which require a safe, neutral meeting location. When completing an online transaction and exchanging goods, we encourage citizens to require the buyer or seller to meet you at one of these locations—it will discourage criminals from attempting to take advantage of an unsuspecting victim.

Below is a list of all the Safe Zones provided by the PCSO:

  • Central County Jail – 2390 Bob Phillips Road, Bartow, FL 33830
  • South County Jail – 1103 US Hwy 98 West, Frostproof, FL 33823
  • Southwest District Office – 4120 US Hwy 98 South, Lakeland, FL 33813
  • Northwest District Office – 1045 Wedgewood Estates Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33809
  • Northeast District Office – 1100 Dunson Road, Davenport, FL 33896
  • Central District Office – 3635 Avenue G NW, Winter Haven, FL 33811
  • Southeast District Office – 4011 Sgt. Mary Campbell Way, Lake Wales, FL 33853
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