A delegation of law officers from Nebraska has returned home after answering the emergency call to help keep the peace and provide security in flood-ravaged eastern Iowa.
Doug Srb is a police captain in Lincoln and says he was a bit shaken by the destruction he saw in Cedar Rapids. "One of the most striking things I saw was several convenience stores where they had gasoline tanks that the water had gotten down below and literally floated them up through the concrete and they burst through the concrete, had come loose and floated off, leaving a crater," he says.
Srb was among ten police officers from Lincoln assigned to Cedar Rapids. He says the dust and mud was a real problem after the water receded, forcing the officers to wear masks when working in the affected areas.
One of their jobs was to keep out the looters, but Srb says just walking around was dangerous.He says the foundations of many houses are gone and the houses had been moved and were structurally unsound, while all sorts of items were hanging from trees and wires. It was a shock, he says, to see boats, cars, decks and outbuildings dislodged and deposited all over the city.
"Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of things, never quite on the scale that they had there," Serb says. "There were literally thousands and thousands of homes affected. It was deep water. They were calling it a 3000 year flood."
He was questioned about the quick response by law enforcement officers from eastern Nebraska to head to a location some 315 miles away in eastern Iowa. "It’s just what we do," Srb says. "Anytime there’s a crisis like that, I think people rally to that type of thing. The police are no different. Anyone would do that."
Srb says everyone his team encountered in Cedar Rapids was so grateful for the help. Also, 20 troopers from the Nebraska State Patrol have been on duty in eastern Iowa during the floods.