Authorities in Florida have been giving warnings to the public to prepare and leave their homes for Hurricane Irma.
One county sheriff is even offering a comfortable place to stay in — not just to anybody but to those wanted by the police authorities — in the county jail.
On a Twitter post on Wednesday, the Polk County Sheriff said, “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
Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, warned his people that Irma could be more devastating than Hurricane Andrew, which hit the state in 1992. Thousands of National Guard troops will be deployed ahead of Hurricane Irma, which is expected to hit the state at the weekend.
Moreover, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office urged people in a series of tweets to prepare for the storm, and said that if they did go to a shelter they should expect deputies checking IDs. “Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed,” the office tweeted. “We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators. Period.”
This tweet created quite a disagreement among Twitter users as some were surprised and considered it inhumane to reject anyone seeking refuge amidst disasters. The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a message seeking more details, as per a story shared by the Daily Mail.
However, Spokeswoman Carrie Horstman told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper the ID checking is intended to make residents feel the shelters are safe and encourage higher turnout. “We hope it actually leads to more people turning themselves in,” she told the paper.
Sheriff’s office has warned that even though Polk County, located between Orlando and Tampa, and home to about 600,000 people, is mainly non-coastal it does not guarantee protection against hurricanes. The office tweeted the hashtag: #goawayIrma.