BARTOW, Fla. (AP) – People with active warrants in one Florida county might want to think twice about heading to a shelter for Hurricane Irma.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd posted on his official Twitter account Wednesday that deputies will be checking identification at the county’s shelters, and anyone with a warrant will be arrested and taken to “the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail.”
If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn LEOs will be at every shelter, checking IDs. Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) September 6, 2017
Judd also posted that sex offenders and sex predators would not be admitted to the shelters.
We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators. Period. https://t.co/DlhqjqFrkM— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) September 6, 2017
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Horstman says they’re trying to educate the public before the storm hits this weekend. She says they’re hoping people with warrants will turn themselves and use the next few days to deal with their legal issues.
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement criticizing Judd's tweet, saying it will endanger lives and accusing him of trying to burnish his "tough cop" reputation:
"Most people with outstanding warrants are dealing with low-level and nonviolent crimes and pose no risks to others in a shelter.
Sheriff Judd's threatening tweets send the message that these individuals must choose between facing a natural disaster without aid and shelter or going to jail over things like unpaid parking tickets.
Sheriff Judd should we working to prepare his community, not burnishing his Joe Arpaio-style 'tough-cop' credentials with a series of irresponsible tweets."
© 2017 Associated Press