Sheriff showed little interest in disaster drill

It is very interesting how the La Plata Sheriff’s Office can obtain a large vehicle for evacuations and rescue and support a nationally acclaimed SWAT team – yet, none of these show up to a major disaster drill for which they were obtained and explicitly trained? What is going on here?

A story in The Durango Herald (June 10) read: “The MaxProV can be used to rescue injured people in areas exposed to lethal threats or the evacuation of people near a barricaded person. ... ‘The Columbine High School incident and subsequent shooter-related incidents across the country demonstrated how inadequate fire trucks and police cars are when trying to remove innocents from a threatened area,’ Bender said.”

And yet, with all the agencies involved in this mass-disaster drill – planned for months – we did not see the best we have to offer from the Sheriff’s Office? Is our current sheriff really so out of touch he did not know this was happening? Or, did he think everyone was just playing a game, and he was not interested to participate full-scale, which would happen in a real disaster?

It is obvious, from many venues, planning and practice is paramount to not only thwart bad things, but also obtaining the best outcomes when they happen. This again is embarrassing for our community to have a sheriff not involved to work with other agencies in formulating the best plans in times of disaster and trauma. It again proves how we need someone with a hands-on approach who will support our community efforts to work together – not sit with blinders on and leave the job to someone else. This was a school in La Plata County; the Sheriff’s Office should have been full-scale on site to drill in handling these emergencies. That is what practice is, getting better to obtain the most optimum results. The current sheriff shows little, if any, interest by minimally participating in our community efforts for safety.

Luella Turner


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