Law enforcement groups in Mississippi and beyond have been working to provide bottled water to Jackson police officers and residents amid the water crisis that left the capital city without access to safe drinking water for nearly seven weeks.
The Mississippi State Troopers Association, Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, Troopers Coalition and Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Foundation donated about $2,500 worth of bottled water for officers with the Jackson Police Department, the Jackson Capitol Police and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks after heavy rains in late August caused the Pearl River to flood and the water treatment plant to fail, leading to a shutoff of water to approximately 180,000 residents.
“I thought about how hard it would be for law enforcement officers trying to work and take care of their families during the water crisis, so we wanted to show our support for them and their families,” Master Sergeant Scott Henley, vice president of the Troopers Association, told Mississippi Today.
State and federal government emergency crews worked around the clock to supply Jackson residents with drinking and non-potable water for months. Even after water flow was restored, a boil-water warning remained in effect until September 15.
Law enforcement from other states provided help as well. The Baker Police Department transported around 1,500 donated cases of water from Louisiana to give to Jackson residents.
“Residents responded so wonderfully,” Police Chief Carl Dunn said. “Man, I’m just so overwhelmed with joy. The hardest part was finding a trailer.”
Even while receiving aid themselves, local law enforcement has been busy helping residents. The sheriff’s office in Hinds County, where Jackson is located, teamed up with the law firm Morgan & Morgan’s Disaster Response Team to provide bottled water and other necessary supplies at a distribution event held at a Jackson church.
“We got water, we have dry shampoo, we have waterless toothbrushes, and a lot of baby wipes, diapers, and everything we take to natural disasters. We are in this community, and we want to serve this community,” attorney Ben Wilson of Morgan & Morgan told WLBT.
Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said the crisis offered an opportunity to build relationships between law enforcement and the community.
“This shows we are always ready to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community outside and step outside what our normal duties are and be able to show the citizens that we care about them, and we care about the same as well.”