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Less than 24 hours after an EF4 tornado ripped its way through a small town north of Dallas, agencies from across the Metroplex rushed to help the neighboring city.


On the morning of Sunday, December 27, 2015 the National Weather Service confirmed nine tornadoes struck different areas in Texas. One of the tornados landed in Rowlett around 7 p.m. Saturday causing miles of destruction and many injuries.


Shortly after the storms subsided, the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) sent out a notice to all its members that the Rowlett Police Department (RPD) was requesting help from other agencies. In response, Lewisville Police Chief Russ Kerbow sent an email to his officers asking for volunteers to assist the RPD.


Officer Tim O’Hare of the Lewisville PD said he realized it would take time for officers to officially mobilize after the call for help went out and knew someone needed to step in in the interim, so he immediately sent a group text to some of his fellow officers. Together, three officers from the Lewisville Police Department (LPD) arrived early Sunday morning to help in any way they could.


“There was no doubt that our chief was going to contact their chief, set it up and send resources, but we knew it wasn’t going to be by 7 a.m. the next morning. We knew it would take some time,” O’Hare said. “That’s why we volunteered our personal time, vehicle, and equipment – that way we could take care of what needed to be done while the logistics caught up.”


Lewisville police officers worked 12-hour shifts over the course of several days. After checking in with the Rowlett Police Department (RPD), they were sent to work security in various areas throughout the city, freeing up RPD officers to handle more pressing issues.


O’Hare said officers were stationed throughout the city – anywhere RPD needed them. Many first responders who showed up to volunteer were tasked with blocking roadways of heavily affected areas, making sure only residents were allowed through to get their belongings. And to avoid looting.


“When something like that devastates your city it’s got to be hard. Those are your residents. You’re there to protect and serve, and you couldn’t protect them from that,” said Officer Tim O’Hare of the Lewisville PD. “Your job now is to try and fix the damage and be as helpful as you can to all the residents in your city.”


Lewisville wasn’t the only agency to send reinforcements. The city of Carrollton, TX sent two fire trucks to help with seek and rescue Saturday night and offered to send more police officers as needed. Coppell officials also had emergency crews available on standby.


“It was really cool to see all the patches that were there – Flower Mound, Frisco, DPS, Dallas, sheriff’s departments, Plano, Dallas,” O’Hare said. “There’s not a single person alive who thinks that one department can do everything needed after a disaster. You would need a Dallas-sized department in a Rowlett-sized city to cover everything.”



(Source: Lewisville Leader)

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