With Hurricane Irma setting its sights on Florida, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office took to Twitter on Wednesday with a string of tweets, intended to warn sex offenders and predators that they will not be allowed in local shelters during the storm. Sheriff Grady Judd went on to say that if they have a warrant, they will gladly be escorted to another “safe and secure shelter” – the Polk County Jail.

The series of four tweets led to some confusion as the initial message said "LEOs" would be checking people’s IDs at hurricane shelters, turning away any sex predators or sex offenders.

However further tweets added that only people with warrants out against them would be targeted, saying they should rather go to jail instead of the area’s shelters. Another tweet warned that the sheriff’s office will not have children exposed to sex offenders in the shelters.

The series of tweets are included here.

Twitter users erupt over Sheriff's tweets

Twitter users, shocked and confused at the Twitter tirade, criticized the sheriff’s message as it appeared to state that anyone with any kind of warrant would be turned away from safety or arrested.

One Twitter user pointed out that sex offenders do not necessarily have an outstanding warrant, asking how will officers differentiate between them?

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Twitter comic Patrick Monahan responded by saying this would definitely not lead to anyone riding out the storm as they had “too many unpaid parking tickets,” adding the words “Good job.”

The Daily Beast spoke to Carrie Eleazer Horstman, a spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff’s office, who had sent the tweets on behalf of the sheriff.

Horstman said anyone with an outstanding warrant would risk arrest if they showed up at any of the shelters.

The spokeswoman went on to clarify that ID checking would expose the sex predators and offenders, but would also flag any other fugitives from justice. Horstman then went on to say if they spot anyone with an active warrant, they have to arrest them, going on to claim jail would be safer for them than being exposed to a Category 5 hurricane.

However, other critics on Twitter went on to point to the situation after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, when hundreds of inmates were left behind and abandoned to dangerous conditions. Human Rights Watch said 600 inmates of the Orleans Parish Prison were locked in water up to their chests for four days after the storm before finally being rescued.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Judd released a video statement about the issue, saying they had given sexual predators and offenders warning that they are not going to allow them to sleep next to “five, six, seven-year-old babies.” He went on to say if they had an outstanding warrant, the Sheriff’s Office has a duty to execute that warrant.

Judd went on to say they had given them four or five days’ warning and that offenders had choices. One was to go to book in to take care of the warrant, then get out legally and head to the shelter. His second statement was that they had warned people they would be looking for warrants at the shelter, adding they can make other arrangements if they don’t want to turn themselves in.

Judd said he never imagined the department would be “beat up” for giving people a warning and keeping them safe. He said that’s fine, he just wants people in Florida to know they are going to be safe in their shelters following Hurricane Irma.