3 sets of HPD officers serving helpful stints in Puerto Rico

Tom Kennedy

HPD was not going to let a minute go by without helping its brothers and sisters in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

The first 25-member HPD contingent left around the first of November and included a captain, three sergeants and 21 officers, according to HPD Assistant Chief Pedro Lopez.

“They are patrolling with the police,” Lopez explained, “performing all patrol functions and helping direct traffic. They have been staying on an old cruise ship and are now moving into a Hilton.”

Chief Lopez said two other groups will be rotating in to help the police in the town of Carolina, one of the many towns and cities with only about 70 percent power and overwhelming traffic jams. He said HPD is among other big-city departments such as Boston and New York.

“We are helping to deal with the issues of heat and traffic,” Lopez explained. “We’re from Houston. We know how to deal with both. It’s extremely hot and we are dealing with the heat. The next group will be leaving on the 17th (of November) and coming back the third of December.”

The last group of 25 will return to Houston by Dec.15.

HPOU Board members Luis Menendez-Sierra and Terry Seagler were in the first group of officers.

Lopez explained that officers from the States are deputized as soon as they reach the island and are assigned to patrol in the towns most in need.

The second group will be lead by Capt. Patricia Cantu, the third by Capt. Bill McPherson. Lopez will go to the island for five days beginning Nov. 29. “V

“Everybody is happy and not complaining,” he said. “It’s not the best of conditions but they are handling it.”