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KSP Troopers, Helicopter Offer Relief in Hurricane-Stricken Areas
Officers in Mississippi help capture violent criminal

Date of Release: 09/06/05

FRANKFORT, KY - Two convoys of Kentucky State Police (KSP) officers left for Mississippi and Louisiana on Saturday. Their presence already is a welcome relief to law enforcement personnel and residents alike.

After officers arrived in Louisiana, they were sworn in as Louisiana State Police troopers. Twenty-three began working in the New Orleans area, and 15 were assigned to Slidell. Another 15 KSP troopers who headed to Gulfport, MS, were empowered with police authority and after one day in Gulfport were routed to the Hattiesburg area.

KSP Commissioner Mark L. Miller, who headed south today along with KSP Deputy Commissioner Rick Stiltner, for a brief trip to visit the dispatched troopers, said the outpouring from within the agency has been amazing. "Many more officers volunteered to go than we could possibly can send," said Miller. "I'm always proud to be a part of this great agency. But in a time like this when scores of individuals have stepped up to the plate, words cannot begin to convey my gratitude or admiration."

Twenty-three officers around New Orleans are working at least 12-hour shifts, each officer teamed with a Louisiana state trooper. They are manning checkpoints and running patrols in Louisiana parishes with little or no police presence, said Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of KSP Public Affairs Branch, who is currently in Louisiana. Those in Slidell also are enforcing a curfew.

"While our main goal is to restore and maintain order, KSP troopers also providing food, water and checking on the welfare of residents in the area," said Rudzinski.

In the Hattiesburg area of Mississippi, KSP troopers are working upwards of 18 hours a day on patrols and checkpoints. Some of those volunteered to help local officials capture three violent crime offenders who escaped from an area prison. KSP officers have helped capture one of the escapees, said KSP Maj. Mike Sapp who heads the KSP delegation in Mississippi. He advised that one of the escapees still at large had been on Death Row.

The KSP also has provided an agency helicopter, whose KSP pilot is transporting medical personnel, helping with rescues, conducting patrols and flying officials from federal agencies to survey the damage.

One common theme has emerged, no matter where the KSP officers have been assigned - overwhelming appreciation. "Everywhere we go, people will come over, shake our hands and thank us for being here," said Sapp. "The first question they ask us is ´How long can you stay?´."

KSP officers in Louisiana will be there a week, and then another detail will come in to relieve them. The detail currently in Mississippi will be there for at least two weeks.

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