MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Summoned to help serve and protect on the west coast, a rapid response team from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office is headed to Lee County Friday morning.
Trained by Homeland Security for missions like these, a team of 15 from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office is going to help law enforcement agencies dealing with damage and loss in their own personal lives.
The team has to travel with everything they are going to need so they are not a burden to those agencies on the west coast.
The group is setting up an operations tent fully equipped with lodging, bathrooms, food, appliances needed to cook, and all gear needed to police independently for a minimum of two weeks.
“We don’t want to take up extra resources that they desperately need over there so we bring all of it with us,” said Lieutenant Matthew Immodino.
Immodino is one of 30 in the rapid response team trained to assist law enforcement agencies in areas with catastrophic damage. The mission for the group of 15 traveling will be search and rescue, patrol for looting, guide traffic, and carry out any functions law enforcement in the area needs help with.
“When we go in in a law enforcement capacity, we try to go as a life raft to bring aid and comfort and very importantly, to protect the people from those that would take advantage when they are at their lowest moment,” said Sheriff William Snyder, of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Snyder said it is an honor to help out the men and women in uniform on the west coast of the state right now. He said this response is coming at the request of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.
“Yes, I’m taking the men and women, and our equipment from Martin County to Lee County, but two things; number one, the state will pay for every penny of it including equipment use, overtime, manpower hours, and then very importantly, in the event that we have the same situation, I don’t have to worry, my fellow sheriffs are coming and they are bringing their people with them,” added Sheriff Snyder.
The team leaves at 6 a.m. and takes several marked deputy vehicles and trucks to get through flooded zones. The sheriff said the other half of the rapid response team remains in Martin County and may switch out with the current team after the first week of aid.