If you have an active warrant in one Florida county, you may go to one place for shelter and end up in another…One with bars and locked doors. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd posted on his official Twitter account Wednesday that deputies in his Florida county will be checking identification at the county’s shelters during the onslaught of Hurricane Irma. Anyone with a warrant will be arrested.
“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,” Judd tweeted.
A spokesperson for the Sheriff, Carrie Horstmann, said that they are trying to educate the public before the storm hits this weekend. She said that the Sheriff’s hope is that people with warrants will turn themselves in and deal with their legal issues.
The outspoken sheriff who is known for his controversial comments also tweeted: “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.”
Horstman also said that the deputies who conduct the identity checks at shelters would not know what the warrant is for, that could lead to people who are just wanted for a misdemeanor being arrested.
“Officers are legally obligated to take a person into custody if they have a warrant,” she told the Orlando Sentinel.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida urged Sheriff Judd to “focus on preparing for Irma, not burnishing your Joe Arpaio-style ‘tough cop’ credentials with irresponsible tweets.” They maintain that most people with outstanding warrants in the state are wanted on minor charges.
Another issue is that undocumented workers may not seek shelter if they feel contact with law enforcement could lead to them being deported.
What do you think about the Florida Sheriff’s plan to check IDs at Hurricane shelters and arrest those who have warrants?
Credit: CBS News