Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd didn’t hold back during a recent press conference, discussing what his county and school district are willing to do in order to keep children safe from potential mass shooters.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Judd was clear on his message regarding any potential armed threat in schools in Polk County, Florida.
“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,” the sheriff said.
“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 added, holding up 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,” he continued.
Judd’s remarks were a response to the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
The sheriff also made sure to express his heartfelt sympathy regarding the tragedy.
“I think, but for the grace of God, it could have been any one of us and our children or our grandchildren,” Judd said.
He then went on to criticize the Uvalde Police’s response to the tragedy, commenting on the fact that law enforcement waited nearly an hour to eliminate the threat, and calling it “unacceptable.”
“When you take your children 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,” Judd said.
The sheriff was joined on stage for the press conference by Ryan Petty, a Florida father whose daughter was killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on February 14, 2018.
Petty is now an activist working to make schools safer, advocating for allowing teachers to carry concealed 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,” he explained in a tweet.
“People fear teachers irresponsibly using guns or students obtaining a teacher’s gun,” Petty wrote in a follow-up tweet. “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.”
“In Florida, we have the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program with rigorous training requirements,” he added in another tweet, sharing a photo of himself with Grady during Friday’s event. “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.”
Watch the sheriff speak below: