Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

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Cookiely
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Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

#1 Postby Cookiely » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:18 pm

Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation
By Denise Malan (Contact)
Sunday, July 26, 2009

A new state law will allow police to arrest people who don’t leave town under mandatory evacuation orders.

As it stands, officials cannot compel people to evacuate, only warn that those who stay behind won’t have any emergency services at their disposal. The new law gives county judges and mayors the power to authorize use of “reasonable force” to remove people from the area.

The law, passed this year, takes effect Sept. 1, in the heart of hurricane season in Texas. It also applies to other disasters, such as fires or floods.

Don’t expect police to go door to door arresting people or forcing them from their homes if a hurricane is headed toward Corpus Christi.

“If the hurricane is arriving here, we’re going to be doing the best we can to hunker things down, to make sure we have as many special-needs patients evacuated, to prevent crime and looting,” Corpus Christi Police Cmdr. Mark Schauer said. “We’re going to have a hard enough time preventing crime, let alone arresting people who don’t leave.”

County Judge Loyd Neal agreed that arrests for ignoring orders are unlikely.

“I don’t have a jail big enough to put 20,000 people in,” Neal said. “You have to hope people will use good sense. The majority of people usually do.”

Schauer sees the law more as a tool to compel people to leave, or to be used in special situations. For example, officials could issue a mandatory evacuation for the beaches, giving police the authority to arrest people who go storm-watching and put themselves in danger.

A man died after being swept off a Packery Channel jetty last summer as he watched swells caused by Hurricane Ike as it headed toward Galveston.

The law also makes people who must be rescued after ignoring mandatory evacuation orders civilly liable for the costs of the rescue.

A mandatory evacuation order often is a course of last resort, for a variety of economic and logistical reasons. Hospitals and nursing homes must move patients, and businesses must let workers leave town.

The evacuation provision is part of a larger bill overhauling the emergency response code after Hurricane Ike. The bill also directs the Governo
http://www.caller.com/news/2009/jul/26/ ... vacuation/
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Ed Mahmoud

Re: Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

#2 Postby Ed Mahmoud » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:06 am

Sounds a little nanny-statish to me. People have a right as Americans to be stupid. Charging for rescues, I'm ok with, and forcing families with children, for the sake of the children.


But if people want to risk being a Darwin Award candidate, I think that is there business.
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Re: Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

#3 Postby vbhoutex » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:56 am

Personally, I think those under a mandatory evacuation order should leave. It is for their and their families safety. As I have always said, better safe than sorry(in many cases dead als Ike, Katrina, etc.). There is nothing I own that is worth dying for, NOTHING!! I do not live in an area that would be called to evacuate, so I do not have to worry about this law. Is this law enforceable? Good question!! I do think that those with children that are refusing to leave should be immediately arrested and escorted off to a safe shelter with their children. Loss of civil liberties as some claim?? I haven't heard a good enough argument yet to agree with that, not when human lives are at stake. The best part of the law is making those that refuse to evacuate that require rescue to be civily liable for the costs of their rescue.
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Re: Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

#4 Postby srainhoutx » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:31 pm

A little "light reading" for those that are interested...

http://texasarchitect.org/pdfs/HB1831.pdf
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Re: Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

#5 Postby GalvestonDuck » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:45 am

vbhoutex wrote:I do not live in an area that would be called to evacuate, so I do not have to worry about this law.


It's a state law. So, wouldn't it also apply to flooding in Houston or an explosion at a refinery or any other disaster that might require evacuation?
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Re: Texas Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation

#6 Postby vbhoutex » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:18 pm

GalvestonDuck wrote:
vbhoutex wrote:I do not live in an area that would be called to evacuate, so I do not have to worry about this law.


It's a state law. So, wouldn't it also apply to flooding in Houston or an explosion at a refinery or any other disaster that might require evacuation?


You are correct. I forgot that it does apply to all types of "natural and man-made disasters".
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