MIAMI - More than 20 officers from the Homestead Police Department are in Punta Gorda helping with disaster relief after Hurricane Ian.
The department's Disaster Response Team was requested by the State of Florida's Emergency Operations Center.
The team is self sufficient, bringing their own supplies to stay in the area for at least a week. The officers will help with search and rescue and wherever else they are needed.
"In all honesty, one of the reasons you get into law enforcement is to be able to help people out and there what we're here for," said Det. Eric Rodriguez.
Homestead got hit hard in 1992 by Hurricane Andrew, something many of the veteran officers say is part of the reason they are anxious to help.
"Obviously the pictures are really bad. The city of Homestead as a result of Andrew, way back when, we had a lot of extreme damage in this area so we're pretty much geared up and we know what to expect," said Rodriguez.
"I was a little kid for Hurricane Andrew and I remember what it did to Homestead. That's in my mind forever. So when I see those pictures, it reminds me of that and all I can think of is the families and what they're going through right now," said Sgt. Luis Devarona.
In addition to the gear, they are also two search and rescue dogs to help out.
In 2004, Homestead assisted Punta Gorda in recovery efforts after Hurricane Charley and have since become sister cities.
If you would like to help in the recovery effort, you can make a donation at neighbors4neighbors.org/
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