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Polk County Arrest, Court, and Public Records

What are Polk County Public Records

According to the Florida Sunshine Law, Polk County public records consist of information generated or received by a government agency as required to perform official duties. Under the law, public records may be documents, books, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, and other materials notwithstanding characteristics, means of transmission, or physical form. Florida law supports direct access to all non-confidential public records. However, the law states that records containing the following information are not open to public disclosure:

  • Health records that reveal identifying information about an individual’s health. Nonetheless, the law allows public agencies to release health records if the individual provides written consent, a court order requires access, a medical emergency requires disclosure, or a health research facility requests the records after receiving approval from the Florida Department of Health
  • Active criminal intelligence or investigative information created by law enforcement agencies or requests for these records submitted between agencies. Nonetheless, Florida law states that such records and related requests should be open to public disclosure following case conclusion
  • Records containing security information of a structure or facility. These records may include fire safety information, sheltering arrangements, threat assessments, emergency evacuation plans, and other response plans
  • Records that contain personal identifying information on former or current public agency personnel. Exempt information includes home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and social security numbers

In addition to official sources, public county records may also be accessible from third-party websites. Record seekers may opt to use these non-governmental platforms to search for a specific record or multiple county records. However, users will need to provide enough information to assist with the search, such as:

  • The address of the requestor
  • A case number or file number (if known)
  • The location of the document or person involved
  • The name of the subject involved in the record (not juvenile)
  • The last known or current address of the registrant

Government agencies do not sponsor third-party sites. Because of this, record availability and results may vary.

Polk County Crime Statistics

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) operates a Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Offense Data page that displays reported crime data from all state counties. The FDLE lists reported index crimes for law enforcement agencies in each county, including their Sheriff’s Offices and police departments. According to the UCR’s 2019 report, Polk County experienced a total of 13,787 index crimes, including 1,990 violent crimes and 11,797 property crimes. Included specifics were 23 murders, 166 rape reports, 300 robberies, and 1,501 aggravated assaults, Polk County’s most committed violent crime. Reported property crimes were 1,947 burglary incidents, 8,914 larcenies, and 936 motor vehicle thefts. In 2018, the FDLE reported that Polk County experienced 14,407 index crimes. The numbers show that criminal activity rose by 4.5% between 2018 and 2019.

Are Polk County Criminal Records Public?

Florida law provides public access to Polk County criminal records. All interested persons may request and obtain copies of personal or third-party criminal history information, unless a court orders the record sealed or expunged. However, juvenile records are only considered public where the offense would be considered a felony if committed by an adult. Residents may request a Florida criminal history record check from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Polk criminal records are requestable via the Instant Search or the Certified/Non-Certified Search. Using the instant search, residents can view, print, or email online criminal history information. Persons who want certified and notarized records must use the Certified/Non-Certified Search and allow up to 7 days for processing. Non-certified records take 5 business days. Requesters who use the Certified/Non-Certified Search will receive desired records by mail. All requests cost $24 per search, payable by credit or debit cards. Additional card processing fees may apply.

How to Obtain Polk County Police Reports and Arrest Records

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) provides access to arrest records and police reports of incidents within its jurisdiction. Interested persons can obtain Polk County arrest records and other reports by contacting the Records Management Bureau. Records are requestable by email, phone, or in person, using the following details:

Polk County Sheriff’s Office
Public Records Custodian
1891 Jim Keene Boulevard
Winter Haven, FL 33880
Phone: (863) 298-6300
Email: recordsrequest@polksheriff.org

In-person requests are also available at any PCSO Substation. Upon contact, the PCSO will provide the requestor with the relevant request form. All requests for Polk arrest records or police reports should describe the incident, provide the names of involved persons, dates, locations, and other related information. After submission, a staff member will notify the requestor to ask for more information if necessary, or to inform that the record is ready. Requests may cost varying fees depending on the type of record and its volume. Also, the PCSO may require advance payment if the total cost of the record is over $30.

How to Find Sex Offender Information in Polk County

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office allows residents to find information on registered sex offenders. Using the PCSO’s Offender Watch, the public can find offenders by area, name, city, internet names, email, and phone number. While the name search allows searches by last name or first name, each area search requires the offender’s address, city, and zip code. The Offender Watch also provides a separate list of non-compliant Polk County sex offenders. Available details include each offender’s full name, registration number, address, offense and conviction information, and a photograph. Members of the public can also register on the platform to receive email updates about a particular sex offender’s status. In addition to the Offender Watch, residents may also find Polk sex offender records via the FDLE’s statewide Sexual Offenders and Predators Search. Depending on available information, users can search the FDLE’s database by the offender’s name or neighborhood.

How to Find Polk County Inmate Records

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office maintains a jail inquiry page for public access to inmate records. Anyone may find inmate information via the name search, booking date search, or AKA search. The name search requires the inmate's last name and allows users to restrict the search results to inmates currently in detention. Inmate details include a full name, booking number, gender, date of birth, and physical descriptors. The result page also displays a booking date, release date, current location, status, bond details, and charge information.

How Do I Visit an Inmate in the Polk County Jail?

All interested family and friends may schedule visits by registering with the facility’s third-party visitation vendor. The Polk County Sheriff's Office allows inmates to receive two video visits every week for 20 minutes per day. Each 20-minute visit costs $10 and should be scheduled as follows:

  • 7:30 am to 10:30 am
  • 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm

All visitors must schedule visits at least 24 hours in advance. Visitors who need to change visitation times or cancel scheduled visits must also do so 24 hours before the schedule. Any scheduling or alteration that does not accommodate the 24-hour window will be dismissed in favor of the original appointment, which will count towards the inmate’s visitation quota.

During each visit, visitors and inmates must conduct themselves appropriately. All inappropriate behavior, including nudity or other misconduct, may result in a termination of the visit, suspension or revocation of visitation privileges, and possible criminal charges.

Court Records

In Polk County, all matters are handled by Circuit and County Courts. The Circuit Court has general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including felonies, family law cases, juvenile matters, mental health cases, and probate proceedings. The Circuit Court also handles all cases beyond the County Court’s jurisdiction.

Locations of Courts in Polk County

Polk County Circuit Court - Bartow Office
Polk County Courthouse’
255 North Broadway Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 534-4000

Polk County Circuit Court - Lakeland Office
Polk County Government Center
930 East Parker Street
Room 240
Lakeland, FL 33801
Phone: (863) 534-4000

Polk County Circuit Court - Northeast Office
3425 Lake Alfred Road
Winter Haven, FL 33881
Phone: (863) 534-4000

County Court of Polk County - Bartow Office

Polk County Courthouse

255 North Broadway Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 534-4000

County Court of Polk County - Lakeland Office
Polk County Government Center
930 East Parker Street
Room 240
Lakeland, FL 33801
Phone: (863) 534-4000

Are Polk County Court Records Public?

Most Polk County court records are accessible by members of the general public. Residents can submit requests to the Clerk of Courts and obtain copies of desired court records. However, record seekers may be denied access to records where disclosure could endanger the safety of lives and properties, or impede the administration of justice. Furthermore, all sealed records must remain closed to the public.

Can You Look Up a Polk County Court Case Online?

The Polk County Clerk’s Office allows interested persons to find Polk court records online. Record seekers may search the Clerk's online database by entering a uniform case number (UCN), citation number, party first name, party last name, case filing date range, and court type. Search results show records that match entered details, and also include bond and financial details, as well as the court's final disposition.

How to Obtain Polk County Civil Court Case Records

The Polk County Clerk’s Office maintains records of all civil matters heard in the county. Anyone interested may include exhaustive details of desired records in a written request. Provided information should include party names, case type, case number, filing date, and the court’s judgment. Interested persons should note the Clerk’s Office may charge fees for making copies of civil court records. Applicants may submit requests by mail or email using the following details:

Records Custodian
P.O. Box 9000
Drawer CC-18
Bartow, FL 33831-9000
Email: clerkrecords@polk-county.net

How to Obtain Polk County Criminal Court Case Records

Polk County criminal court records are available at the Clerk’s Office. Applicants can obtain records by submitting mail or email requests describing sought records. Each request should contain as much information as available to the requester, specify the requested number of copies, and include the requester’s contact details. Polk County residents should note that copies of desired records may cost search or request fees. Interested persons may submit written requests to the:

Records Custodian
P.O. Box 9000
Drawer CC-18
Bartow, FL 33831-9000
Email: clerkrecords@polk-county.net

Conducting a search is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.

What are Polk County Vital Records?

Polk County vital records are government-generated records of county life events, including births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. These records are requestable from the Clerk of Courts and the county Bureau of Vital Statistics. Members of the public should note that not all Polk vital records are open to public disclosure.

Where and How to Obtain Polk County Divorce Records

The Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court maintains records of all county divorces. Persons interested in copies of Polk County divorce decrees may submit requests by mail or email. The Clerk of Circuit Court’s office also provides a searchable online database for access to uncertified copies of court records.

Persons submitting mail or email requests should include details of the record, such as both parties’ names, the divorce date, and city of divorce. Parties should note the requesting copies of Polk divorce decrees may cost copy fees. The Clerk of the Circuit Court receives mail and email requests sent using the following details:

Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Records Custodian
P.O. Box 9000
Drawer CC-18
Bartow, FL 33831-9000
Email: clerkrecords@polk-county.net

In addition to the divorce decree, residents can obtain divorce records from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. Polk County divorce certificates are available for dissolutions of marriage since June 6, 1927. Requests cost a $5 search fee for one year and one certified copy if found, and $4 for each additional copy. However, if the exact calendar year is unknown, the bureau charges $2 for each year searched, to a $50 maximum. Mail requesters should use checks or money orders payable to “Vital Statistics”. Interested parties should complete the application form and submit by mail or visit in person using the following details:

Mail Requests
Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

In-Person Requests
Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
1217 N Pearl Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Hours: 8:00 and to 4:30 pm

Where and How to Get Public Polk County Marriage Records

Polk County marriage records are available at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office. Interested persons may obtain Polk County marriage records by visiting the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office or submitting mail requests. Required information includes the names of both married parties, the marriage date, and the location of marriage. Requestors should note that search or copy fees may apply to each request. Residents may visit a Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court location or submit mail requests for Polk marriage records to the:

Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Records Custodian
P.O. Box 9000
Drawer CC-18
Bartow, FL 33831-9000
Email: clerkrecords@polk-county.net

Residents may also request Polk County marriage certificates from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. Each request costs a search fee of $5 for one calendar year and one certified copy, plus $4 for each certified copy of the same record ordered at the same time. If the exact calendar year is not known, the requester is charged $2 for each year searched, up to a maximum of $50.

Mail Requests
Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

Where and How to Find Polk County Birth Records

Interested parties may request Polk County birth records from the Florida Department of Health in Polk County. However, Florida law restricts access to public records. According to law, only the following persons may obtain copies of Polk birth certificates.

  • The person named on the record if at least 18 years old
  • The person's parents named on the record
  • The person’s legal guardian
  • A legal representative of an eligible person
  • A requester with a court order that provides access

The first copy of a Polk County birth certificate costs $15, while each extra copy of the same record costs $5. Requesters may mail completed copies of the birth record application, a cashier’s check or money order made out to “FDHPC”, and a copy of a valid ID. Acceptable options include a passport, driver’s license, state identification card, or military identification card. Mails should be forwarded to:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

In-person requests are also possible by visiting one of the following Polk County Vital Statistics locations:

Bartow Vital Statistics Office
Bartow Administration Building
3rd Floor
1290 Golfview Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 519-8446
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday

Lakeland Vital Statistics Office
Lakeland Health Clinic
3241 Lakeland Hills Boulevard
Lakeland, FL 33805
Phone: (863) 519-8446
Hours: Call before visiting

Where and How to Find Polk County Death Records

The Polk County Bureau of Vital Statistics provides copies of death records to interested parties. All residents at least 18 years old may obtain Polk County death certificates without the cause of death. However, only the following persons are authorized to receive copies of death records with the cause of death:

  • The decedent’s parent, spouse
  • The decedent's sibling, child, or grandchild of legal age
  • A requester with an insurance policy, will, or other documentation that proves an interest in the decedent’s estate
  • A legal representative requesting on behalf of an eligible person.

Each copy costs $10, payable by money orders and checks made out to “FDHPC” for mail requests, or cash payments for in-person requests. Mail requests require a completed copy of the death record application and a copy of a government-issued photo ID if requesting a record with cause of death. Polk County death certificates without cause of death or older than 50 years, do not require a photo ID. All requests should be submitted as follows:

Mail Requests
Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

In-Person Requests

Bartow Vital Statistics Office
Bartow Administration Building
3rd Floor
1290 Golfview Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 519-8446
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday

Lakeland Vital Statistics Office
Lakeland Health Clinic
3241 Lakeland Hills Boulevard
Lakeland, FL 33805
Phone: (863) 519-8446
Hours: Call before visiting

Are Property Records Open to the Public in Polk County?

The Constitution of the State of Florida grants public access to property records. Residents of Polk County may obtain copies of a record by contacting the official records custodian. However, some exemptions to the law do exist. Requesters may be prevented from obtaining:

  1. Records that include photographs, audio and visual presentations, schematic diagrams, surveys, recommendations, or consultations or portions concerning the physical security or fire safety of the facility or revealing security or fire safety systems.

  2. Records of building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings, and diagrams, which include drafts, preliminary, and final formats that depict the internal layout and structural elements of:

    • A building, arena, stadium, water treatment facility, or other structure owned or operated by an agency.
    • Health care facilities, hotels or motel developments
    • Attractions and recreation facilities, entertainment or resort complex, industrial complex, retail and service development, office development.
    • Public safety radio communication system infrastructures, including towers, antennae, equipment or facilities used to provide public safety radio communication services or public safety radio communication structures or facilities owned and operated by an agency.
    • Geographical maps that show confirmed or proposed locations of public safety radio communication system infrastructure, including towers, antennae, equipment or facilities used to provide public safety radio services, or other public safety radio communication structures or facilities owned and operated by an agency.
  3. Information held by the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, a county, a municipality, or a local housing finance agency that is confidential and exempt from inspection and replication include:

    • Medical history records and information related to health or property insurance provided by an applicant for or a participant in a federal, state, or local housing assistance program.
    • Property photographs and personal identifying information of an applicant for a participant in a federal, state, or local housing assistance program for the purpose of disaster recovery assistance for a presidentially declared disaster.

Where and How to Find Property Records in Polk County?

The office of the Polk County Clerk maintains an online database containing county records. It includes property records that date back to the 1st day of January 1957. For records before 1957, an online request can be submitted. The office of the Polk County Clerk is located at the following addresses:

Bartow Office
255 North Wilson Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 534-4000

Lakeland Office
930 East Parker Street
Room 240
Lakeland, FL 33801

Northeast Office
3425 Lake Alfred Road
Winter Haven, FL 33881

Upon receipt of record requests, it is the job of the Record Management Liaison Office, to track the submission and response of the property record request to ensure all statutory requirements are fulfilled by the county. Florida law states that people are not required to make a formal public record request in writing, give names or reasons for making said request as an online request form is provided. However, if the researcher chooses to make a request in person, then the office of the Record Management Liaison can be visited at:

330 West Church Street
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 534-7670

How to Look Up Polk County Property Records

To search for property records in Polk County, a requester will have to gain online access by clicking on a link for official records via the county clerk (also known as the county recorder and clerk of the circuit court) website. The link opens up a new tab where the requester is provided with different document types, (e.g: deed, tax receipts) to select from as well as a date range and a consideration amount (this is optional) of the property.

A public record request can also be submitted online through the Polk County Public Records Center. This requires the requester to create an online account. While anonymous submissions are available, requesters will need to check the Public Records Portal for all information in relation to the request. A reference number will be provided for this purpose.

Location of Polk County Property Assessors

Bartow/Main Office
255 North Wilson Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Phone: (863) 534-4777
Fax: (863) 534-4753

Lakeland Office
930 East Parker Street
Suite 272
Lakeland, FL 33801
Phone: (863) 802-6150
Fax: (863) 802-6163

Winter Haven Office
3425 Lake Alfred Road
Winter Haven, FL 33881
Phone: (863) 401-2424
Fax: (863) 401-2428