COLUMBUS — Months after flooding devastated parts of Eastern Kentucky, the Columbus Police Department is helping one county 250 miles away protect its citizens.
The Perry County, Kentucky Sheriff's Office had one of its patrol vehicles ruined by the floodwater, leaving the three deputy department with two working patrol vehicles.
"[It's] a very small sheriff's office with a lot of ground to cover and very limited resources," Columbus Police Lt. Matt Harris said. "[The car has] a light bar and and other essentials that they need, so they won't have to worry about replacing that."
A City of Columbus employee who had ties to the community reached out to Columbus Police. Each year, the department replaces some of its vehicles. A 2016 Ford Police Interceptor that was set to be auctioned off is now in Perry County.
On Friday, Harris traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, about halfway between Columbus and Perry County, to meet Sheriff Joe Engle.
"We pulled into a gas station there just outside of Lexington and the sheriff had a smile on his face," Harris said. "He was just taken aback by the kindness of the Columbus community, you know, folks that he had never met before today, that we would be able and willing to help out their police department and the citizens of Hazard Kentucky and Perry County."
In 2008, flooding heavily damaged the City of Columbus, knocking out power and wiping out the hospital and entire neighborhoods. Harris says to this day, there are still empty homes around the city that were affected. Harris says law enforcement agencies from across Central and Southern Indiana traveled every day to help with recovery and patrolling. More than a decade later, Columbus Police say they wanted to pay it forward.
"It's definitely one of the highlights of my career as a law enforcement officer, getting to do kind acts for others," Harris, a 27 year law enforcement veteran, said. "We understand what those folks in Kentucky are going through because we experienced it to a certain degree here."
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