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The Media Relations / Public Information Office operates within the Office of Communications, under Director Scott Wilder. The Public Information Office is staffed with a Media Relations Administrator, and two full-time civilian Public Information Officers (PIOs) who answer media inquiries* and share the 24-hour on-call responsibilities. The PIOs work Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., in the office. One will be on-call after hours and on weekends for news-breaking or emergency situations, at which times they can be reached via cell phones. Please see our On-Call Calendar below to see who the PIO on-call is.
The PIO on-call number for breaking news MEDIA inquiries is 863-370-0040. Inquiries by the general public are handled at our non-emergency line: 863-298-6200.
Any media outlets wishing to reach all PIOs at the same time via email, please email PIOs@polksheriff.org.
*PIOs do not handle public records requests from the general public - those should be directed to our Records Unit. Any citizen wishing to make a general inquiry should call the non-emergency number 863-298-6200.
The Public Information Office is responsible for sending out news releases; handling all media inquiries; releasing public records in compliance with the Florida Public Records Law; composing and sending out Crime Stoppers bulletins; scheduling and conducting news conferences; coordinating agency crisis communications; creating and distributing two monthly newsletters for both internal and external customers; managing the PCSO social media channels; and handling numerous other special projects as requested by the Sheriff and PCSO senior management.
Routine media inquiries and records requests are handled as expeditiously as possible during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, a PIO is always on-call for emergencies and for significant breaking news events.
After hours, the on-call PIO will generally not have information regarding non-fatal car crashes, routine arrests, crimes not resulting in death or critical injury, or the status of cases that are not considered breaking news.
Written records, including arrest affidavits and event reports, are not made available to the PIOs after hours or on weekends, however, arrest reports can be obtained by the media from the jail at Central Book-In in Bartow.
The PIO on-call number for MEDIA INQUIRIES is 863-370-0040. This number is for news media inquiries only. The general public should call our non-emergency line 863-298-6200 for any other inquiries.