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Polk sheriff says criminals, sex offenders not welcome at hurricane shelters

LEOs will be checking IDs at shelters

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Polk County deputies have a message for criminals thinking of fleeing to a shelter in preparation of Hurricane Irma: Don't come.

The sheriff's office took to social media to warn sex offenders that LEOs will be checking IDs at each shelter door. If their name shows up as a registered sex offender, they will not be allowed inside the shelter.

Deputies reportedly told sex offenders at the shelter that they will "just have to ride out the storm in their trailers," according to a witness.

Officials with the sheriff's office also noted that if you choose to enter a shelter and have an outstanding warrant, you will be arrested on the spot.

"You will be taken to a very secure shelter called the Polk County jail," the Facebook post wrote. "It will be a safe place during Irma, should she decide to visit." 

The reason for this rule is not to punish criminals, but protect the families that will be seeking shelter during the storm.

"We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual predators and offenders. Period," the sheriff's office officials wrote on Twitter.

Shelter FAQs: For any/all questions about evacuations, shelters, pet-friendly shelters, etc., please visit...

Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, September 6, 2017