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NJ Office of Emergency Management
Colonel Rick Fuentes Major John Hunt
Superintendent, New Jersey State Police
State Director of Emergency Management
Deputy State Director of Emergency Management

Neal Buccino (609) 882-2000 ext. 2738 October 11, 2005


New Jersey First Responders Return Home After Thousands of
Humanitarian Deliveries, 911 Responses

(TRENTON) Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today announced the successful conclusion of Operation LEAD in New Orleans, with the return today and tomorrow of New Jersey police officers and other personnel from their base in Louisiana.

The mission was made under the provisions of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) mutual aid agreement between the states of New Jersey and Louisiana. "Operation LEAD" is ending because Louisiana's leaders have determined that local agencies are now in a position to resume their operations in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

"In the time of greatest need, New Jersey helped New Orleans turn the corner," Codey said "When I visited that devastated city, New Orleans' leaders offered great praise for the high level of training and skill shown by New Jersey's law enforcement officers. Colonel Fuentes, Lieutenant Colonel Malast and Major Hunt are to be commended for putting together a such a world-class, well-organized deployment."

Operation LEAD, short for "Louisiana Emergency Assistance Deployment," began September 3 and effectively ends this week. The Operation was organized and directed by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. More than 600 personnel from across New Jersey, including local and state law enforcement officers, water rescue technicians, hazmat personnel, decontamination personnel, medical support personnel and others, responded.

The Operation included the creation of "Camp New Jersey," essentially a self-contained police department that led the law enforcement and other emergency services for New Orleans' Second Police District and the surrounding region. No other state helped the City of New Orleans in this manner.

"New Jersey's first responders have made a significant impact in Louisiana," said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. "It's a testament to their training and character that they have been able to help the state and its citizens, and we are grateful for their courage, selflessness and dedication. We extend them our thanks and we are grateful for their safe return."

Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of New Jersey State Police and Director of the State Office of Emergency Management, said, "This was an enormous mission with operations ranging from search and rescue, to patrols of the city streets, to emergency medical services. We distributed water and meals ready to eat, to meet peoples' basic needs. Many times, a person's first point of contact turned out to be a New Jersey law enforcement officer."

The main activities of Operation LEAD fell into the following categories:

  • Uniformed police patrols in New Orleans' Second and Sixth police districts, and in the cities of Harahan and Kenner. During much of the mission, patrols were conducted in two 10-hour patrol shifts per day, averaging 20 officers per shift.
  • Investigation of 4,028 unanswered 911 calls. On average, 50 officers devoted eight hours per day to effort to help Louisiana State Police clear their backlogged 911 calls.
  • Force protection for FEMA DEMORT teams engaged in body recovery operations.
  • Urban Search And Rescue (USAR). This was the major emphasis of New Jersey's early operations in Louisiana. Up to 77 New Jersey police officers and 14 members of New Jersey Task Force One worked 10 hours per day on search and rescue operations.
  • Decontamination operations. Four decontamination teams with an average of 24 members provided decontamination for personnel from New Jersey and other states. One Decon Unit provided decontamination services for residents of St. Bernard Parish, and two were stationed in Baton Rouge.
  • Security assignments. New Jersey officers provided security services at commercial locations throughout the cities of Harahan and Kenner.
  • EMS service. The presence of ambulances and paramedics from New Jersey ensured the members of Operation LEAD would not become a burden on local EMS services. New Jersey's medical units also aided nearby communities. They provided rehabilitation for field personnel, treated minor injuries, distributed over-the-counter medications, and responded to life-safety emergencies.
  • Criminal intelligence. Operation LEAD's criminal investigation contingent collected, analyzed and investigated intelligence information, and provided that information to other agencies in support of law enforcement efforts.

Beginning September 3 and ending this week, the members of Operation LEAD have:

  • Conducted 133 field deployments
  • Searched 7,890 homes
  • Identified 174 persons sheltering in place
  • Rendered first aid to 115 persons
  • Rescued 67 persons
  • Rescued more than 267 animals
  • Assisted in the recovery of 115 bodies
  • Conducted eight night police operations
  • Rendered 104 assists to local police forces
  • Conducted 53 force protection / security details
  • Investigated 4,028 unanswered 911 calls
  • Distributed 2,019 humanitarian deliveries
  • Performed 4,134 gross decontaminations
  • Performed 190 definitive decontaminations
  • Performed three pet decontaminations
  • Powerwashed 4,254 vehicles for decontamination purposes
  • Assisted in the neutralization of 16 hazardous electrical and natural gas conditions
  • Recovered 24 firearms
  • Received and analyzed 59 intelligence reports
  • Distributed 1,100 fliers with emergency contact information

Operation LEAD included the following deployments of New Jersey personnel:

  • On September 3, the State office of Emergency Management sent to Louisiana five water rescue teams comprised of 34 personnel from New Jersey Task Force One (the state's multi-purpose search and rescue team), the New Jersey State Police, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, and a mechanic from the State Department of Transportation. Those teams completed their mission September 14.
  • On September 7, New Jersey sent its first massive task force to New Orleans, comprised of 153 police officers from across the state and 36 hazmat personnel from Essex, Union and Morris counties. Most of those personnel returned to New Jersey when their replacements arrived from the deployments of September 17 and 18.
  • On September 13, the State sent to Louisiana two hazmat teams comprised of 12 technicians from the Trenton and Cherry Hill fire departments. Those deployments lasted 10 days.
  • On September 8 and September 14, the State sent a total of three donations management specialists to the State of Mississippi, to help the state determine what resources will be needed as the recovery continues.
  • On September 17 and 18, New Jersey sent the second massive task force, comprised of 148 police officers and medical support personnel from across the state and 25 decontamination personnel. Most of those personnel returned to New Jersey when their replacements arrived from the deployments of September 28 and 29.
  • On September 28 and 29, New Jersey sent the third massive task force of 148 police officers and medical support personnel, and 30 decontamination personnel. Those personnel are returning to New Jersey this week.

Photos taken in and around New Orleans by New Jersey's Operation LEAD members can be found online at http://www.njsp.org/lead/index.html.

All deployments were made under the provisions of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), by which states help each other in times of crisis.

To make these deployments possible the State Office of Emergency Management, led by Colonel Fuentes, Lieutenant Colonel William Malast, and Major John Hunt, worked with groups representing the Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the State Fire Marshall, all 21 county offices of emergency management, all 21 county prosecutors and a host of other entities.

It is anticipated that the states affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will need further support in the coming months. Those requests would be made through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, and the response organized the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.


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