Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home from Joplin

At about 6 p.m. yesterday, June 22, the last of the KCPD officers who have been assisting in Joplin, Mo., since the devastating tornado there one month ago returned home. Reporter Josh Letner of the Joplin Globe newspaper wrote a fantastic article last weekend about the nearly 100 KCPD officers who have served in Joplin and how incredibly well received we were there.

As one of our tactical squad sergeants told the reporter, “I’ve had more thanks in the time I’ve been down here than in the 21 years that I’ve been a police officer in Kansas City. That’s not to say I’ve never been thanked, but almost everybody you run into is thanking you. We’ve been awestruck at how thankful people are.”

Nearly all the officers who served in Joplin have consistently said how amazing the residents there were despite their unthinkable adversity. They were so friendly, so willing to help and in great spirits. As mentioned in the Globe’s article, many residents even applauded the officers at a restaurant. It was pretty overwhelming emotionally when our officers learned many of those who clapped for them had been rendered homeless by the tornado.

We sent a total of about 95 officers and several more civilian communications and fleet employees to Joplin to help them as they recover from this disaster. We were blessed to work alongside the Kansas City Fire Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and first responders from across the Midwest, as well as thousands of selfless volunteers. The Joplin Police Department performed and continues to perform faithfully in the most difficult time in the city’s history, and it was an honor to serve alongside them.

The Joplin Globe said, “It doesn’t take much time traveling the streets of Joplin to notice the presence of KCPD.” I’m pretty certain most of the KCPD personnel who served there will remember that experience for the rest of their careers.

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