“Our department has responded to mutual aid requests in the past, but the scope of this disaster is unprecedented,” said Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) Captain Steve Buress after returning from Santa Rosa, where ten SCPD officers spent Oct. 12–14 assisting the local police. They were in the midst of a swarm of devastating wildfires considered among the worst in California history.
The officers helped evacuate Santa Rosa residents and assisted with traffic control and road closures. They protected residential neighborhoods from possible looters and escorted families back to their homes. Occasionally, they extinguished small, smoldering flare-ups.
Their efforts were not taken for granted. Homemade thank you signs for public safety responders hung on fences. Free lemonade stands for the responders popped up around town.
“The selfless support from Santa Rosa area residents and businesses for one another and the public safety personnel was amazing. There are so many stories about neighbors risking their own lives to save, notify, and evacuate others. The citizens are the true heroes!” said Buress.
“Although we wish it hadn’t happened, we are grateful for the way the broader Bay Area has come together to help these communities begin the recovery process,” continued Buress. “The shelters are buried in complete meals and necessary supplies!”