TAMPA, Fla. — About 20 police officers from around Tampa Bay are headed to the Panhandle. It's a long drive and they're really not sure what to expect when they get there.
"You don't know what's below the surface and so they really don't know what they're going to get into,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan.
It could have been us one year ago.
"It's now our turn to return the favor,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Right now it’s Florida’s Panhandle and Tampa Bay law enforcement is sending help to Gadsden County—officers who have no idea how long they’ll be needed.
"Some of them have crowd management expertise. Some of them work with chainsaws. Some of them have done this before,” said Chief Dugan.
Plant City, Tampa International Airport and the University of South Florida’s police departments are sending officers too.
We are all in this together. Twenty of our area's finest police officers are on their way to assist those recovering from Hurricane #Michael. The #TampaStrong Platoon is led by Captain Carlos Rodriguez & includes officers from @TampaPD, TIAPD, @PlantCityPolice & @USFPDTampa. pic.twitter.com/8ceo6wkSer
— Bob Buckhorn (@BobBuckhorn) October 12, 2018
They are the first of who could be many when more places to stay become available.
"Some of it is just as simple as chopping up a tree and opening up a road,” said Chief Dugan.
Some of these officers have no storm response experience but are stepping in to learn.
So when it is us, Tampa Bay will be better prepared.
"We're Tampa strong and we're Tampa proud and we're going to go help those folks that desperately need us,” said Mayor Buckhorn.