Has Florida Man finally met his match? Meet Florida Sheriff

Jul 22, 2022, 5:25 PM | Updated: Jul 23, 2022, 5:51 am
In this image taken from an undated video posted by the Lee County, Fla., Sheriff's Office, Sheriff...

In this image taken from an undated video posted by the Lee County, Fla., Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Carmine Marceno speaks at a news conference in Fort Myers, Fla. Sheriff Marceno refers to the jailhouse as the "Marceno Motel." The news conference format has attracted big audiences and most often goes viral. (Lee County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Lee County Sheriff's Office via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — When a naked man in southwestern Florida recently raised a ruckus outside his house and threatened a deputy with a kitchen knife, the SWAT team swooped in and apprehended him.

Soon afterward, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno stood on the man’s driveway in combat gear for a news conference while the suspect went to the jailhouse that the sheriff likes to call the “Marceno Motel.”

“He’s an oxygen-stealer and a scumbag, and I’m glad he’s outta here,” Marceno told reporters. “I’m proud to say that in this county, if you present deadly physical force … we meet you with deadly force every time, and we win. It’s pretty clean, pretty quick.”

The Sunshine State has become internationally notorious for the oddball miscreants who populate its police blotters and local news reports — known collectively as Florida Man. There are murders and mayhem, like anyplace else, and then there are the only-in-Florida incidents like the man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for throwing an alligator through a Wendy’s drive-thru window in Palm Beach County in 2015.

But an equally eccentric cast of hard-boiled sheriffs make a career of going after these guys. Florida Man, meet Florida Sheriff.

All but one of Florida’s 67 counties have an elected sheriff, and they wield enormous influence in part because they’re often the only countywide elected official. They head agencies that typically patrol unincorporated portions of their county but also provide backup to city police departments and sometimes patrol small cities that lack their own force. Many, like Marceno, hold made-for-YouTube news conferences and use TikTok and other social media — frequently going just as viral as the perpetrators.

Take Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson, in Florida’s Panhandle.

During a recent news conference about a burglary, Johnson, elected in 2016, said a homeowner had fired shots but didn’t hit the suspect. Johnson encouraged that homeowner to take a gun safety course offered every other Saturday at the sheriff’s office so he could better take matters into his own hands.

“Learn to shoot a lot better,” Johnson said. “Save the taxpayers’ money.”

On the Atlantic Coast, near Cape Canaveral, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey makes a game of crime — literally. His weekly ” Wheel of Fugitive ” videos feature the sheriff spinning a wheel with photos of 10 of the county’s most wanted.

“Everybody watches it. Even the fugitives watch it” to see who becomes “fugitive of the week,” Ivey said.

The lucky winner of one recent episode was a 32-year-old white male accused of petit theft and failure to appear. The sheriff, first elected in 2012, looked into the camera as if speaking directly to the man and urged him to surrender: “Stop messing up and stop breaking the law. Get all of it behind you.”

The Twitter account of Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco — who has starred in A&E Network’s “Live PD” show — made a splash with local “Sad Criminal of the Day” posts. His agency also copyrighted the now-viral hashtag, #9pmroutine, a reminder to lock car doors and homes every night.

In January, the department cut off social media comments because the accounts fell victim to their success. With over 300,000 Facebook followers — more than double that of much larger Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in nearby Tampa — Nocco said people were too often reporting crimes online rather than calling 911.

Over in central Florida is, perhaps, the highest-profile enemy of Florida Man (and Florida Woman).

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who constantly targets gangs, drug dealers and prostitution rings in his folksy Southern drawl, has been a frequent hit on TV since he was first elected with no party affiliation in 2005. Judd says of school shooters: “We’re going to shoot you graveyard dead.”

He also has praised homeowners for firing on intruders, including one last December: “He gave him an early Christmas present. Only Santa Claus gets to come in your house,” Judd told a news conference.

Judd often refers to the Polk County Jail as the “Polk Pokey,” and last holiday season, his office sold their version of the popular Elf on the Shelf doll, dubbed Sheriff on a Shelf, and he personally autographed Sheriff Judd bobbleheads.

One of Judd’s latest targets was not exactly the crime of the century. But Judd had plenty to say about a woman accused of assaulting workers at a McDonald’s because her order was wrong.

“She’s a pretty lady. But she was McMad,” Judd said on May 20. “I don’t know if she was two fries short of a Happy Meal, but she created a McMess and acted like a McNut. … This is Polk County. We don’t put up with that McJunk.”

____

Anderson reported from St. Petersburg, Florida.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A sign asks those getting vaccinated to keep 6 feet apart during the vaccination event, Wedn...
Associated Press

CDC drops quarantine, distancing recommendations for COVID

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others. The […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Best Buy cuts jobs after it cuts sales and profit outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, is trimming jobs in an effort to adjust to new changes in consumer behavior as the virus wanes. Best Buy declined to say how many jobs it was cutting, but The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the news, estimated it […]
1 day ago
In this image provided by the City of Mesa, actor Troy Kotsur, left, receives the key to the city f...
Associated Press

Oscar winner Troy Kotsur awarded key to Arizona hometown

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Troy Kotsur, who made history as the first deaf man to win an Academy Award, has been honored with a key to his Arizona hometown. Kotsur, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in March, was given the key Thursday in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, the city said in […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Ring doorbell camera is displayed outside a home in Wolcott, Conn., on July 16, 2019. Two ...
Associated Press

Amazon’s Ring, MGM to launch show from viral doorbell videos

NEW YORK (AP) — Two Amazon-owned companies — Ring and Hollywood studio MGM — are teaming to create a TV show in the mold of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” using viral footage from Ring’s doorbell and smart-home cameras. The half-hour show, called “Ring Nation,” will be hosted by actor and comedian Wanda Sykes and premier […]
1 day ago
FILE - This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) sho...
Associated Press

WHO plans to rename monkeypox over stigmatization concerns

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization says it’s holding an open forum to rename the disease monkeypox, after some critics raised concerns the name could be derogatory or have racist connotations. In a statement Friday, the U.N. health agency said it has also renamed two families, or clades, of the virus, using Roman numerals […]
1 day ago
FILE - An ivory-billed woodpecker specimen is on a display at the California Academy of Sciences in...
Associated Press

Do videos show ivory-billed woodpecker, or is it extinct?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal government has been asked to consider at least two videos made in recent years as evidence that ivory-billed woodpeckers may still exist. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in 2021 that it planned to declare 23 species extinct, including North America’s largest woodpecker — also dubbed the Lord […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
Has Florida Man finally met his match? Meet Florida Sheriff