Three officers, one lieutenant volunteered for Irene support
August 31, 2011Tweet
Four New York State University Police from Binghamton University volunteered to respond where needed last weekend and were sent downstate to aid in possible rescue and recovery efforts caused by the impact of Hurricane Irene. Their whirlwind trip over a 25-hour period took them to the streets of Manhattan, through torrential rain and winds and on detours around flooded roadways.
Lt. Marc Leniek and officers Brian Ackley, Orlando Torres and Brendan McDevitt first drove to SUNY Purchase to get their assignments.
“Due to the heavy rainfall that was coming down, we hydroplaned several times … water was coming off the side of hills that looked like waterfalls and was flooding roadways,” said Leniek of the middle-of-the-night drive. “As we were traveling through Orange County, an emergency alert was heard over the radio for a tornado warning, but due to the poor visibility and darkness, we would not have been able to see a tornado until it was on top of us. We were the only vehicle on the Tappen Zee Bridge, which closed after we crossed it.”
The team was then deployed to the New York Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry at 26th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan and joined 37 other NYSUP members from 13 other State University of New York campuses. They were paired up with officers from Albany, Oswego and Environmental Science and Forestry to provide a police escort for the National Guard through the streets of Manhattan to 253 Lafayette St., home of FDNY Ladder Company 20 and Engine Company 13, to evaluate areas that were reported to have flooded and possibly had victims in need of medical assistance.
“We actually observed very little to mild damage in the NYC area,” Leniek said. “Several trees and area roadways were flooded, but nothing in comparison to how some of the upstate areas got hit, such as Delaware County.
“We were demobilized and began our return home at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday,” he said. “Getting home was a challenge due to some roadways and bridges being closed due to high winds and flooding.”