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Officer describes visit to Moore as heartbreaking and gratifying - KOAM TV 7

Joplin officer describes visit to Moore as heartbreaking and gratifying

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What was once part of an ongoing nightmare for Joplin is now happening in Moore, Oklahoma.  Monday night ten Joplin police officers, four Joplin firemen, and two METS ambulance workers went to Moore to help with the immediate aftermath of the tornado there.

"There was a short time frame that we did that because there were a lot of officers that showed up from larger communities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa pretty quick," says Lt. Sloan Rowland of the Joplin Police Department.

Lt. Rowland says the trip was both heartbreaking and gratifying.

"It's kind of unique until you've been around the area of a tornado like we have, the smells of upturned dirt, insulation, broken wood, natural gas leaking, it's just kind of its own unique smell," says Lt. Rowland.

Joplin knows about hurt and Lt. Rowland says it's the type of hurt felt no less or no more from other disasters.

"You see kids toys and things like that in the midst of the rubble, people digging through houses and things to try to find what they can salvage," says Lt. Rowland.

Rowland and the rest of the Joplin group spent one day in Moore.  A tired Rowland returned to Joplin, a community he's helped to protect for 10 years.

He says a recent show of gratitude will stick with him for the rest of his life.

"It was kind of interesting on the way back, driving back up the interstate, vehicles passing us, holding up signs, where somebody marked 'thank you' as they passed us and held it up to the windows as we were driving back home," says Lt. Rowland.

Officials in Moore say 24 people are dead, including nine children.  Authorities are confident all survivors and victims have been found.

The Joplin Police Department left a promise with Moore police to help again with whatever is needed.

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