HOUMA, La. (KLFY) — Law enforcement from across Louisiana and beyond are helping Southeast Louisiana get back on its feet following Hurricane Ida.
Over 210 deputy sheriffs are in the most affected areas of Bayou State. They arrived from over 20 parishes, and most of the parishes not sending men really don’t have any to spare.
“We literally are working over half of the state with resources from the other half at this time, but it’s getting better every day,” Michael Ranatza, the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association (LSA) Executive Director explained.
The LSA Emergency Task Force established a base of operations the day after the storm. Major Dale Simoneaux, Chief of Operations for the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs’ Office, was part of that first team bringing rescue equipment, generators, essential supplies, and manpower.
“I don’t know of any street that was not blocked by trees and or power line and houses and roofs,” Simoneaux remembered. “It went from search and rescue just trying to open roadways to get to people’s homes, and now we’re trying to provide as much assistance as we can.”
Deputies are distributing supplies, patrolling neighborhoods for looters, and being present at the few stores and gas stations that are open by generators. Each man and woman is working full week rotations in over 100-degree heat index temperatures.
“We’re only a few days into this so logistically there’s still a lot of moving parts. It’s going to be a fluid thing. This is going to go on for several weeks,” Simoneaux said.
Through it all, Ranatza says the deputies who stayed, working around the clock with damages of their own are who deserve the most thanks.
“We are most proud of them, and it is the work of those deputy sheriffs that are doing everything for us,” he concluded.
The Lousiana Sheriffs’ Association also made a formal request to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security for additional assistance from out-of-state deputies. Florida and Arkansas have already answered the call.