ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque city councilors have paved the way for people to get arrested if they refuse to leave an arroyo. Tuesday night, council passed an ordinance that gives the Albuquerque Police Department the authority to remove people from arroyos.

The measure sponsored by Tammy Fiebelkorn requires officers to give a written warning first, allowing time for the person to gather their belongings and move on. However, there is a key exception; if there is imminent danger of flooding, officers are allowed to command someone to leave right away.

Supporters say the measure aims to protect the public, as well as first responders who are put at risk when they have to rescue someone. In the last five years, at least a dozen people have been killed in arroyo floodwaters, including four people last year. The bill will now head to Mayor Tim Keller’s desk.