DCS Annual Report 2019 - Page 19

Depar tment of Communit y Super vision “The opportunity to serve our communities in a time of distress puts our mission at the forefront; We desire to be a source of hope during difficult times.” James Bergman Special Operations Director Event Hurricane Michael Disaster Relief Efforts — Hurricane Michael made landfall on the afternoon of October 10, 2018 as an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane. It was the first major hurricane to directly impact Georgia since the 1890s. In southwest Georgia, wind gusts as high as 115 mph were recorded in Donalsonville. Winds gusted over 70 mph in portions of Central Georgia leading to widespread tree damage, over 300,000 power outages, as well as catastrophic damage to cotton and pecan crops. The devastation of this natural disaster may have resulted in great strife. However, the response to this storm truly embodies the unbreakable spirit of communities across South Georgia. In true DCS fashion, our response to assist our fellow Georgians was swift, prepared, and heartfelt. One hundred and sixty nine of our officers joined forces with the American Red Cross, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and numerous other relief organizations to respond to the storm’s destruction. Several special operations personnel served at the State Operations Center helping to deploy resources to ravaged neighborhoods. The 15-day operational period witnessed our officers working 12-hour shifts and providing 24/7 coverage. Additionally, officers responded to 11 requests for assistance from GEMA which included: • • • • • Law enforcement presence to secure shelters for crime suppression Securing emergency equipment Curfew enforcement Providing access control and security at food and water distribution points Assisting with roadway safety by creating roadblocks, and creating passable traffic routes The spirit of cordiality and teamwork became a driving force of goodwill as communities worked to rebuild.