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Police Threaten Evacuees Seeking Shelter From Irma With Arrest

Polk County Sheriff's officers have tweeted for evacuees with warrants to stay in jail instead of at a shelter during the hurricane

police threaten evacuees seeking shelter from Irma with arrest
Polk County sheriff's office tweet out threatening message during severe natural disaster, @PolkCoSheriff/Twitter

On Wednesday 7th September, the Polk COunty sheriffs office twitter account tweeted a number of alarming messages, requesting all evacuees with outstanding warrants to hand themselves in and not stay in shelters but rather stay in jail. These tweets were met with harsh criticism but the tweets may have come with a positive message.

The police's twitter account put out messages threatening any one with a warrant that officers would be waiting at shelters to check evacuees ID's and people with warrants will be housed in the local jail. A tweet read, "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".

People were angered by the tweet with many lashing out, Alt Sarah H. Sanders replied to the offending tweet,  "So basically this guy is encouraging anyone with a warrant, which are issued for things such as outstanding parking tickets, to risk death?".

The tweets may not have been all too terrible, as the twitter account cleared things up for the masses stating, "We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators. Period." Some were happier with the police's focus on sexual predators but many are still unsure if those with outstanding warrants for minor offenses will still be safe to stay in shelters. Jennifer Hayden tweeted to the Sherrif's office, "But you are perfectly willing to force people to risk their lives because they have a warrant for parking tickets? Way to protect and serve." Others, like Adam Schrader, claimed that people with sexual offenses don't necessarily have warrants and still need to feel safe from the hurricanes too, tweeting, "denying sex offenders shelter during a hurricane is inhumane."

The tweets may unnecessarily put lives in danger for those who are afraid to stay in shelters as the police didn't clarify if people with minor offenses would be safe to stay in shelters without fear of arrest. Polk County Sherrif's office have not yet commented or clarified their recent statements.

Hurricane Irma is set to touchdown in Florida in the next few days.

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