Military and Police

Puerto Rico Police Force Joined by Military Police to Combat Looting

Unfortunately, it seems like an endemic behavior for looters to come out of darkness after a major catastrophe like a hurricane or riot. Such is the case in post-Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Despite the significant threat to life, those who prey on others during strife and otherwise weak states are lurking. As has been reported here on OpsLens, public safety assets from the US mainland and elsewhere are striving to get boots-on-the-ground reserves in place to join the Puerto Rico factions of police trying to quell these sinister sorts from exacerbating inexplicable circumstances.

Given that Puerto Rico is a US territory unattached from mainland convergence, it nevertheless garners the US government’s immediately-accessible assets –US armed forces and military police factions– to aid its citizens in dire circumstances such as these.

“As of now, we’ve been going from disaster to disaster…we’ve been going from one hurricane to the next.”

Looters beware: there never was an open season for exploiting Puerto Rico.

Looting

On top of today’s horrific revelation of Puerto Rico’s Guajataca Lake Dam bursting at the island’s northwest tip, reports of looters getting nabbed by Puerto Rico police officers and US military police officers lends some hope to an otherwise seemingly hopeless and untenable situation.

In addition to its own police force aided by military cops, Puerto Rico now has boots-on-the-ground from the Big Apple. According to PRInforma, the NYPD and FDNY have arrived. Law enforcement and search-and-rescue personnel, along with NYC assets, are picking up some of the slack. Although brow-beaten by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, the neighboring US Virgin Islands government sent its resources to help pick up the pieces and provide resolve for Puerto Rico’s residents. That is a testament to neighborliness.

Search/Rescue and Supplies

Compliments of US Air Force planes, along with supplies and first responders’ equipment on-board, NYC cops, firefighters and emergency relief workers deployed to Puerto Rico.

Our other military contingent with law enforcement authority, the United States Coast Guard is dockside in Puerto Rico offloading cases of bottled water and supplies to local police and hurricane-relief volunteers.

A report in amNewYork cited the overwhelming rigors of responding to hurricane-ravaged territories with resounding dedication to duty: “We don’t know [when] the ultimate end of the season is going to be,” Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito said on Wednesday. “As of now, we’ve been going from disaster to disaster…we’ve been going from one hurricane to the next.”

Before landing in Puerto Rico, the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 team stopped at Steward International Airport in Newburgh to load their Air Force plane with “equipment, including tractor trailers, chainsaws, generators, rescue boats, wet-suits, tents, cots and food.”

Some help is there and more is preparing to head to Puerto Rico, building-up to help rebuild our island neighbors.

Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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