Law enforcement helps with ‘Convoy of Care’
Despite the heat and humidity, law enforcement officers from around the state, including Porterdale’s Chief of Police and several Newton County Sheriff officers helped unload and load relief supplies for victims of the Louisiana floods.
Jason Cripps, Chief of Police in Porterdale, he received an email from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police during the week of Aug. 15, asking for volunteers to come to the Atlanta Civic Center on Aug. 20 or 21 to help pack semi-trucks with donated relief supplies.
The “Convoy of Care” brought out officers from over 25 Georgia law enforcement agencies, including the Georgia Sheriffs Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia state Patrol and Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. Partnering with law enforcement associations was the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and local business leaders.
According to Corporal Jack Redlinger of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO), who spent Aug. 20 volunteering, the volunteers loaded five semi-tractor trailers with supplies people dropped off over the two day period.
The donations, like the volunteers, came from all over the state, Redlinger said. “There were lines and lines of cars … coming in with all kinds of things.”
Cripps said his wife, Holly, and his K-9 dog, Sgt. Nina went together. They “put in blood, sweat and tears. It was hot and muggy. We loaded two 50-foot trailers. We were given diapers, dog food, school supplies. You don’t realize how much you lose because of a flood. It’s not just water; it’s diesel fuel, gasoline, sewage. Anything the flood water touches in contaminated.”
Estimates are that more than 6.9 trillion gallons of rain fell on areas of Louisiana in one week. Heaviest hit were the areas between just east of New Orleans to north and west of Baton Rouge. Approximately 31-inches of rain fell in one 15 hour period mid-August, damaging or destroying 40,000 homes and displacing 100,000 people.
The “Convoy of Care,” a deployment of tractor-trailers from Atlanta with relief supplies for Louisiana flood victims, was headed for the community of Baton Rouge.
Part of what inspired him to volunteer, Redlinger said, was the thought of “all the law enforcement officers in New Orleans, who are living in hot, humid muggy weather, in all that water. Half lost their homes. We wanted to help take care of our own, and all the other people in New Orleans.”
One of the things that stood out for Cripps was meeting a young lady, barely 11, who carried a sign that read, “Hi, My name is Ka’niyah. Nearly 11 years ago, while my mom was evacuating New Orleans – Hurricane Katrina, she delivered me on the highway. Today, I’m here to help others in need.”
“She was down there helping us load and unload,” Cripps said. “I was so impressed.”
He said he doesn’t know why he felt compelled to volunteer.
“I woke up that morning and had a strong feeling I had to go down there and help,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we are as police and civilians — it was a group people, black souls, white souls, Indian, Asian, Hispanic — it didn’t matter. We were human beings working for the good of other human beings.
“It was the human race coming together – everyone helping one another, hugging one another,” he said. “That’s what I took away [from the day] and that’s what I saw.”
“If it was us [going through this], we’d want people to help us.” Redlinger said.
Community service and involvement is something law enforcement officers do every day, Redlinger said. “There is a lot of stuff we do every day in Newton County for the community. Sheriff [Ezell] Brown is out there every day getting us involved in the community.”
Relief supplies for victims of the Louisiana flooding are still being collected, and volunteers are still needed. For information about relief supplies needed or how to help victims, visit http://www.redcross.org/local/louisiana. For information about volunteer opportunities, visit http://volunteerlouisiana.gov/.
ABOVE: Newton County Sheriff’s Office Corporeal Jack Redlinger, right, joines WSB-TV’s Mike Winne, loading relief supplies into semi-tractor trailers for the “Convoy of Care,” benefitting Louisiana flood victims. BELOW: Holly Cripps, left, wife of...