Caddo Parish, La — Caddo sheriff’s deputies spent Monday readying emergency equipment in the event they are called to assist in south Louisiana, said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator.
Equipment acquired after Hurricane Katrina using state and federal grant money has elevated the Caddo Sheriff’s Office to a “self-contained” status, which is both desirable and beneficial to agencies requesting mutual aid.
“We’ve always helped other agencies in need by sending personnel and some equipment during emergencies or disasters,” Prator said, “but being fully self-sufficient with your own communications system, fuel, and housing ensures we are part of the solution and not part of the problem in a disaster-stricken area.”
The Sheriff’s Office has two five-man teams assigned to the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association’s Task Force, and they are ready to head south if requested. If either team is deployed they will have at their disposal a satellite communications trailer, a fuel trailer, a travel trailer, two generator trailers, and a mobile communications center.
The satellite communications trailer was purchased after Katrina by the Department of Homeland Security. It has four satellite phones, a generator, and WiFi.
The fuel trailer holds 600 gallons of regular gas, 300 gallons of diesel, and has flood lights and a generator. It was also purchased post Katrina with funds from a JAG Recovery grant. The trailer would be pulled with a Ford F-450 truck with utility bed and auxiliary fuel tanks. The truck is used specifically for transporting large equipment and hauling trailers. It was purchased with an appropriations grant from State Rep. Jim Morris.
The Sheriff’s Office also is prepared to travel with a trailer for deputies to sleep and prepare meals and a Bluebird communications/command center (renovated pre-Katrina) that includes satellite phones and wireless computers. CPSO also has two generator trailers and 30 portable radios that are programmed to communicate with other law enforcement officers in a mutual aid situation.
“We are packed and ready if needed,” Prator said. “Our goal when rendering mutual aid is to help out however we can, but it’s also to bring home experience that will benefit us here in the event of a disaster.”