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Mass State Police members return from Puerto Rico, second crew dispatched



The first group of law enforcement officers from Massachusetts who deployed to Puerto Rico to help out in the wake of Hurricane Maria returned this past weekend after two weeks on the island. Six members of the State Police — a sergeant and five troopers — were among the group, which also included officers from the Boston Police and several other local departments.

The Massachusetts deployment was sworn-in as special Puerto Rico officers, making the six MSP troopers the first in this state’s history to be sworn in as Puerto Rico State Police officers. For 14 days, the troopers patrolled alongside their Puerto Rican counterparts in Carolina province. Their mission included maintaining a presence for overall security, protecting goods and property, and manning traffic posts.

They also provided whatever assistance they could to local residents in need.

Like a girl with disabilities whom MSP Sgt. Christopher Sanchez met when he and Puerto Rican officers visited a shelter at the Escuela Vocacional William Rivera Betancourt on October 10. They learned that the girl’s family had lost everything they had in the hurricane, including a wheelchair the girl needs for mobility. Sgt. Sanchez, Puerto Rico State Police Sgt. Caesar Perez, and Specialist Felcha of the Puerto Rico National Guard pledged to help her. By that afternoon, the sergeants and guardsman had made contact with an emergency management official in the island’s capital and requested assistance for the girl. Two days later, a brand new wheelchair was delivered to her, free of charge.

That is just one of countless stories of first responders from all corners of the island and many places in the US, including those from the Bay State, filling in gaps wherever they can to help the residents impacted by the disaster.

The second wave of Massachusetts law enforcement officers, including another contingent of MSP personnel, is currently on the island providing security and assistance. Once their two-week deployment is up, one more wave will deploy. We shipped 13 MSP cruisers to the island for use by all officers from Massachusetts. The deployments are being coordinated by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Courtesy of MSP

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