By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Area law enforcers are preparing to assist if needed in areas affected by Mississippi River flooding.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson and Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton said they have men on standby to provide assistance in the Mississippi Delta and other areas of the state.
Gov. Haley Barbour has warned that extensive flooding is inevitable and residents in many areas are being urged to evacuate ahead of the floodwaters, which are expected to get increasingly worse over the next couple of weeks.
Both Tupelo and Lee County law enforcement were big parts of the recovery, rescue and cleanup efforts in Smithville after a tornado destroyed the Monroe County town last Wednesday. After disasters such as the tornadoes and 9/11, Johnson said they have learned the value of helping one another during times of need.
“When your area is hit, you have no resources,” Johnson said. “Smithville has no police cars, no shelters and limited man power. That’s why it’s good for other agencies to come in and help. There has to be someone you can depend on when the unthinkable happens. And we will go and help the flood victims just like they were our own citizens.”
Johnson said a sheriff’s department team of five men is on standby. Tunica officials have already called and asked about the possibility of help.
Carleton, who provided use of the Tupelo Police Department helicopter as well as manpower to Smithville, said his guys will also be ready.
“We really take pride in being a part of one big law enforcement family as well as a big family of Mississippians,” Carleton said. “That tornado could have very well been right here in Tupelo and those same agencies that we are going to help would have come to our aid as well. So when they call we will definitely go and help.”