A Florida sheriff earned criticism this week for vowing to arrest any person who comes to a Hurricane Irma shelter with an outstanding warrant, and now he’s punching back.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, Sheriff Grady Judd, who represents Polk, a Florida county directly in Irma’s path, warned residents: “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.”
— Polk County Sheriff (@PolkCoSheriff) September 6, 2017
He was immediately attacked for the promise. The Washington Examiner’s Kelly Cohen claimed such a policy “will lead to deaths” and the Decision Desk’s Jeff Blehar wondered how many people would be turned away — or arrested — because of minor infractions:
Sure, should’ve turned selves in. But better to seek shelter and NOT DIE, Y’KNOW rather than stay in place & endanger selves and/or rescuers
— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) September 6, 2017
Judd silenced those critics in an email to Business Insider Thursday, saying the Polk County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t arrest people for small infractions like traffic violations.
“Quit listening to those who have no idea what they are talking about,” he wrote, adding:
- Yes, we arrest those with outstanding criminal warrants wherever we find them and shelters aren’t a sanctuary from arrest. Next, we gave a five day notice as a heads up so there were no surprises at the shelter.
Judd said the motivation behind the policy is to keep those gathered in the shelters safe.
“We will not allow sexual predators and child offenders in our shelters,” the sheriff wrote. “Do you want your child sleeping next to a child sexual offender? Once again, those with such classifications already knew they could not be there, we were just giving them another warning.”
Complaints about the bold vow seem to be coming mostly outside Polk County, given Judd is an incredibly popular sheriff. In November 2016, he was re-elected by a landslide, earning 95 percent of the vote, according to The Ledger.
He’s currently serving his fourth 4-year term as sheriff.
On Tuesday, Hurricane Irma strengthened to a Category 5 storm and is expected to make landfall on the East Coast this weekend.
Since Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered an emergency evacuation from both coasts of the Sunshine State, residents have been hustling to get out of the area, and for good reason, after Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine described Irma as “a nuclear hurricane.”
Source: Conservative Daily