Some 10 days after Fraternal Order of Police officials passed on a plea for help from overwhelmed sheriff’s department officials in Louisiana to the Capitol Police, a plan for sending 15 agency employees to the battered Gulf Coast region was approved by Congressional leaders late Tuesday.
While the national FOP passed on the call for assistance from St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne on Sept. 2, the Federal Emergency Management Agency did not issue an official request for federal police aid until the middle of last week. And as various agencies with oversight of the Capitol Police have spent days hammering out a coordination plan, liability issues and figuring out the exact command structure for the Capitol Police officials who will be dispatched, some officers have expressed frustration with how long the process ended up taking.
Earlier Tuesday, Capitol Police spokesman Michael Lauer could say only that “the process is still ongoing, it’s still working its way through the different committees.” And though Lauer could not give details on the makeup of the force that will be dispatched to Louisiana, by early evening House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and other key figures in Congress had approved a plan to send 11 officers and four civilian police employees to the region. The team will be deputized under the U.S. Marshals Service during its deployment, which could last for a month or longer. The Capitol contingent will join law enforcement officials from dozens of jurisdictions who have come to the Gulf region to aid in relief efforts.
Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Andy Maybo, an officer in the force’s K-9 division, said he and his fellow officers are eager to get to work.
“Our officers are ready and more than willing to do whatever it takes to help out the survivors and the local authorities” in the Gulf Coast region, he said. “Although we wish we had been allowed to respond earlier, we’re more than grateful to go now.”