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Polk deputies warn criminals, sex offenders not welcome at hurricane shelters

08 September 2017

A Florida sheriff drew ire from residents and other county sheriffs when he threatened to arrest fugitives seeking shelter ahead of Hurricane Irma.

The spokeswoman responsible for the tweet suggested people turn themselves in rather than avoid seeking help. The representative also mentioned that preventing sex offenders and predators from entering the shelter was to keep them away from children.

Judd first tweeted that officers would be deployed at every shelter and would be "checking IDs".

"Of all the gross things that America has invented and mass-produced, Aspiring Celebrity Tough Guy Sheriffs have to be about the grossest", David Roth said on Twitter Wednesday.

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It noted that many warrants involved only unpaid parking tickets.

Arpaio, a former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, was found guilty of criminal contempt for allegedly defying a judge's 2011 order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

Complaints about the bold vow seem to be coming mostly outside Polk County, given Judd is an incredibly popular sheriff.

According to the New York Times, there are 47 public shelters in Polk County, which has a population of more than 600,000 people.

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"We see that people [on Twitter] are upset, but the bottom line is the shelters are here to protect people and we want people to be safe", Horstman told the newspaper. However, subsequent tweets simply claimed anyone with a "warrant" would be targeted, and said fugitives should go to jail instead of shelters.

It was only weeks ago that another hurricane - this one bound for Texas - stoked fears about who would be allowed into emergency shelters. "Good job", said another Twitter user.

Horstman defended the policy. "The jail is a safe and secure facility you can seek shelter from the storm there".

Why are you checking IDs? 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. "We need to know who is in there".

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Polk deputies warn criminals, sex offenders not welcome at hurricane shelters