ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin said there were concerns early on that the agency would have to draft troopers to travel to Biloxi to provide assistance.
That proved not to be the case.
Goodin said ISP created a volunteer sign-up list to see if a draft would be necessary.
“The volunteer list got so large, that we actually had [troopers] on stand by to go if someone dropped out,” he said. “We had [troopers] fighting to go.”
More than 600 troopers, more than half the state’s agency, volunteered to travel to Biloxi.
Wayne Flick, executive director of the Indiana State Police Alliance, spent two weeks in Biloxi.
He Flick retired in 2010 after 32 years with ISP while working in Madison County.
“In those 32 years, the most fulfilling detail that I ever took part in was going to Biloxi for two weeks,” Flick said. “They appreciated us, and you could tell.”
He told a story of an Indiana trooper who stopped a woman walking down the road after the 6 p.m. curfew. The woman was walking without any shoes and told the trooper that she was just trying to get to a friend’s house. She told the trooper that she had lost everything in the storm, even her shoes.
Flick said the trooper had taken with him a box of shoes, which he kept in the trunk of his patrol car, to give out to people. The trooper was able to give the woman a pair of shoes and help her on her way.
“When I hear about stuff like that — a state trooper from Indiana doing something like that for somebody from Biloxi, it almost made me cry at the time,” Flick said.
He said it was a fascinating opportunity to provide help to the residents of Biloxi who were facing dire needs. He said the Biloxi officers welcomed the ISP troopers with open arms, and that it was difficult to leave at the end of the two weeks after making strong bonds with many of the officers.
The effort of the ISP to assist the residents and officers of Biloxi started as police duty, but has evolved into friendships.
“Hurricane Katrina flattened Biloxi, Miss.” Goodin said. “We responded to help those folks when it happened. We made some good friends. They are returning the favor. It is what good friends do.”