- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

An outspoken Florida sheriff threatened Wednesday that people out on active warrants who attempt to seek shelter from Hurricane Irma at an evacuation center will be arrested on sight.

“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,” the account for Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd tweeted Wednesday morning. “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.”

“If you have a warrant, turn yourself in to the jail — it’s a secure shelter,” the sheriff’s office said. “We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators. Period.”

Some critics called the warning heartless, but the Sheriff’s Office said it’s the law.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Horstman, who authored the tweet, told the Orlando Sentinel, “Officers are legally obligated to take a person into custody if they have a warrant.”

“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,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. “If you have a warrant, turn yourself into the jail and if you are a predator, find somewhere to go.”

Sheriff Judd has made headlines in the past for his brazen rhetoric. In June, he shot a video urging Polk County residents to avoid being a “sitting duck” by arming themselves in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. In June of 2015, he refused to cave to complaints by an atheist group that accused him of violating the First Amendment for giving a church sermon while in uniform.

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