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Old 09-20-2005, 10:37 AM
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Thumbs up Finally, the truth!

lclp24 (Dennis) forwarded this to me. Thought it would be nice to post it here. Nice to hear the facts from "people" who have been there!

Trav






From 2 Duluth PD officers. Very interesting.

================================================== =================



I recently had an opportunity to go to New Orleans and assist in the
crisis there, and I feel compelled to dispel some of the rumors of what
is going on down there. Two of us from the Duluth Police Dept. arrived
in the New Orleans area on Sunday Sept. 4th, about one week after the
hurricane and the levy breaking. Along the way we spoke with people in
the area, both citizens and Police Officers, and we heard some horrible
rumors about New Orleans Officers quitting the Dept, watching heinous
crimes and not stopping it, and even looting. Some of these rumors
were
also put on national news and broadcast around the world.

The truth is those New Orleans Officers fought an urban warfare battle
for 5 to 7 days before assistance started rolling in. In the
Superdome,
Officers were constantly under fire in blackout conditions by
individuals trying to shoot Cops, the Police did not want to injure
citizens by returning fire in a crowd, and would instead rush the
shooter and disarm them by hand. The NOPD Chief said this happened at
least 30 times to his knowledge. I can think of nothing more
courageous
then rushing at someone shooting at you.

Other Officers were immediately assigned to search and rescue. They
found boats, and with the assistance of blackhawk helicopters were
looking for stranded people. As they were doing this, they were being
shot at by criminals. They would then transition into hunting down the
shooter, eliminating the threat, then go back to search and rescue.
Who
knows how many suffered because people were shooting at the rescuers.

There was talk that a third of the Dept quit, and the rest were either
not helping people, or worse, were looting. This is not only untrue,
it
is a travesty of our system of reporting the news. There were some
cowards that quit, but not as many as reported. There were some
Officers who requested to leave because they did not know where their
families were, and this was allowed by supervisors. Many people do not
know that NOPD has a rule that all Officers must live in the city
limits, most all of the Officers sent their families north before the
hurricane, then lost their homes in the flood. Other Officers were
stranded in their homes and had to be airlifted out, most immediately
requesting a ride back to New Orleans to do their duty. There was also
reports of mass suicides among Officers, this also is not true, the
latest report is there were two suicides, both because they found their
families dead.

Without question it is a chaotic horrible situation there, but the NOPD
performed heroically, and deserve letters and emails of praise.

We are leaving the area on Friday Sept 16, by that time the military
will be taking control of the whole area, instituting martial law
throughout the city and surrounding areas. Officers from all over the
world responded to Louisiana and Mississippi to help give the cops all
through those states a break. The Officers we worked with in St.
Charles Parish for 3 days were all on their 14th straight 12 hour
shift,
and had been sleeping in schools and fire halls most of that time.

The response of the country was incredible, there was food and water
everywhere we looked. And the amount of volunteers and help was
amazing. We saw utility crews, tree cutting crews, ambulances, Police,
sewer workers, street repair workers and many other trade workers from
all over the country.

A lot of people are busy looking for blame for this event. There
probably was more that could have been done, but this event is larger
than any disaster in History, and most likely won't be seen again in
our
lifetimes. What is important is the resilience of the people in the
area, the vast majority were very compliant helpful, and patient with
authorities. First impressions are always important, and it is sad
that
the media, and rumor mill made people in the area look uncaring and
unhelpful of each other. Once I turned off the TV, and started talking
with, and helping the people in the area, I became more proud than ever
to be a Police Officer, and a citizen of the USA.

Officer Gayle Robert Holton
Officer Michael Thamm
Duluth Mn. Police Dept.
__________________

Godspeed and keep low!
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