Law enforcement officials from all across Northeast Florida have packed up their things, gathered their crews and headed down south early Monday morning to help out fellow sheriff’s offices impacted by Hurricane Ian’s devastating aftermath.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly told News4JAX Sunday that members of the Emergency Response Team were leaving for Charlotte County to help with relief efforts after he received a call from the Charlotte County sheriff asking for assistance.
“The sheriff of Charlotte County, his personal home is destroyed. So it’s a significant impact down there, and we’re glad to be able to send people and help them out. He told me that many of his deputies’ and employees’ homes were either destroyed or severely damaged, too,” Staly said.
A crew of two headed down to the county Sunday to set up the response trailer and six more will head down Monday morning.
It’s a 10-day mission, and on the 10th day, they’ll send down a relief group of eight, and the original eight will return. The plan is for the team to do security and answer phone calls in the damaged areas.
“They’ve got their hands full down there. We feel very blessed up here and that allows us to help them out,” Staly said.
St. Johns County
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Mobile Field Force Team and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office teamed together and left early Monday morning to assist those in Southwest Florida.
“While we had some damage here at home, it is nothing like what our fellow Floridians in Southwest Florida are facing,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
In the video, deputies are seen praying and exchanging words of encouragement before they embark on their mission.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office shared a video sounding their sirens as they left in their vehicles around 5 a.m. Monday with their trailers attached, full of the necessary equipment to help serve the Hurricane Ian search and rescue mission in Charlotte County.
“Not knowing where they would be sent or what they would [be] asked to do when we asked for volunteers to help our friends in Southwest Florida, our Deputy sheriffs stood up and said ‘send me!’,” the Facebook post reads.
On Sunday, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook it responded to a call from the sheriff of DeSoto County. Immediately, 10 deputies and 2 sergeants volunteered to help. The crew left around 8:30 a.m.. to head to Arcadia with the mission to do whatever is necessary to support the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and its citizens.
“It is not known at this time how long DeSoto County will need outside resources, but the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office will provide whatever we can to assist our law enforcement brothers and sisters in their time of need. After, all, if we needed help, they would be here for us,” Sheriff Bill Leeper said.