Florida sheriff's statement on shelters criticized by ACLU

Kristopher Drake
September 8, 2017

In preparation for Irma's eventual landfall on Florida, Monroe County and coastal areas of Miami-Dade County started to evacuate on Wednesday.

Judge continued: 'If you go to a shelter for Irma and you have a warrant, we'll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail.

"We're hopeful there would be less fear of going to jail than there would be staying home during a catastrophic storm", she said.

Judd first tweeted that officers would be deployed at every shelter and would be "checking IDs". "Sex offenders don't necessarily have outstanding warrants", one critic pointed out. It is not known exactly how many people are now seeking shelter or how many may have warrants out on them.

"This definitely won't cause anyone to try to ride out the storm because they have too many unpaid parking tickets or whatever".

Polk County, in Central Florida, has a population of more than 600,000 people.

"While we are checking, if we see someone with an active warrant we have to place them under arrest", explained a department spokesperson. There are 47 public shelters in the county, but they have not yet been opened to accept hurricane evacuees. Judd said that in addition to weeding out sex offenders, officers would be apprehending anyone with an outstanding warrant. That's the same approach they took with Hurricane Harvey in Texas. "Good job", said another Twitter user.

Horstman said Judd's use of Twitter is appropriate in communicating a policy that's the same for people fleeing Irma this weekend as it was for people fleeing Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne in 2004.

Are you saying those without an ID will be turned away from shelter? Just one day before the tweet was sent, Polk County Deputy Russell Hilson, a 19-year-veteran of the force, was arrested for beating the shit out of his girlfriend. "This is not the message we need to be sending out with a disaster upon us".

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