Florida sheriff's statement on shelters criticized by ACLU

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Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd followed up with several more tweets, including one that vows to take any shelter-seeking individuals with an arrest warrant straight to jail.

WASHINGTON | The wanted persons and sex offenders will not be allowed in shelters housing the population of the devastating hurricane Irma, warned Wednesday, a sheriff in Florida, sparking a controversy. "It's important to understand that if you're a sexual predator and a sexual offender, we're not going to let you sleep next to any five-year-old babies", he continued.

Judd said police will be on duty at shelters checking the identities of everyone who comes in.

'We hope it actually leads to more people turning themselves in, ' the spokeswoman, Carrie Horstman, told the paper.

Judd also promised to jail any registered sex offenders who travel to one of the county's designated hurricane emergency facilities to escape Irma.

"Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed", the tweet said.

According to the New York Times, there are 47 public shelters in Polk County, which has a population of more than 600,000 people. If this was about sexual predators, you'd be out hunting for them every single day if they had outstanding warrants. Or, say, undocumented immigrants, of whom there are 450,000 living just in South Florida.

The practices of law enforcement officials and immigration authorities during life-threatening storms have frequently come under scrutiny, as happened during Hurricane Harvey in Texas and in 2012 during Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana. Instead, they will be escorted to the Polk County Jail.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom government said Irma inflicted "severe and in places critical" damage to the British overseas territory of Anguilla. "This is not the message we need to be sending out with a disaster upon us".

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