Hilary Coe said she had no choice but to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma because she could not find someone to look after her three kids.
The single mom who lives in Florida was told Sept. 20 that she was suspended without pay from her job as a corrections deputy at the Collier County Jail.
"I have to do what I have to do for my kids," said Coe, whose children range in age from 3 to 7.
Coe said her supervisor recommended she leave her kids at a shelter. "Which I said, OK, who's going to watch my kids when I have to work, he stated, someone in the shelter, another deputy? I'm not comfortable with that, she's in diapers."
In a statement, the Collier County Sheriff's Office said:
"The Corrections deputy you are referencing is still a member of the agency. The matter in question is being reviewed as a violation of policy. Until that review is complete and the case is closed we are unable to provide comment."
Coe expects her firing to become official once the Sheriff signs off on it. She believes the department's policy on working during a hurricane or natural disaster is inconsistent.
"From what I know, administration was approving certain people to be off, I know somebody who got to stay at home with their pets, I know other people who were bringing their pets to their jail."
Coe said even if she violated department policy, she doesn't regret putting her children first.