Today's date is May 19, 2022

Polk County Sheriff criticized for threatening arrests at hurricane shelters

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Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd sparked controversy on Wednesday for several tweets he posted that threatened to check IDs at hurricane shelters and arrest those with outstanding warrants.

Hurricane Irma, currently a dangerous Category 5 storm, is expected to have a significant impact on Florida, and mandatory evacuations have already begun for Monroe County (the Florida Keys), as well as voluntary evacuations for low-lying areas of Miami-Dade County. As an interior county in Central Florida, Polk County may see some evacuees from South Florida, as well as their own residents.

The tweets, posted by the Sheriff’s @PolkCoSheriff account Wednesday morning, state that Polk County police officers will be checking IDs at all shelters and will arrest anyone with a warrant. “We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators,” explained Judd. “Period.”

The tweets received thousands of replies, many of them critical. Some expressed worries that lives would be put at risk because undocumented immigrants — including those with children — would avoid going to the shelter because they feared being arrested.  Others observed that even those with criminal histories deserved to be safe during what was expected to be a catastrophic storm, and sexual predators do not necessarily have outstanding warrants.

The Orlando Political Observer contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and confirmed that Sheriff Judd operates the @PolkCoSheriff Twitter account and that he did write the tweets himself. No additional comment was provided.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

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  1. If I have to bring my family to the Polk County Shelter I will feel safe knowing that Sheriff Judd will be arresting anyone with outstanding warrants.

    The last I want to worry about in a shelter is if the person next to me will steal what meager belonging I could carry in or harm my family or anyone else at their most vulnerable time.

    Thank you Sheriff Judd for enforcing the law and not listening to limosine liberals who won’t even be in the shelter they demand you not enforce the law at.

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