CHELSEA (CBS) – Puerto Rico is still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. The island only has restored 10 percent of power and only half the people on the island have access to drinking water.
It has put a real strain on everyone, especially first responders. Dozens of police officers from Massachusetts are going to the island to help patrol the streets.
Chelsea police officers Aristides Rodriguez, Anthony Ortiz and Sgt. Jose Otero are among the officers headed to Puerto Rico.
“Assisting convoys with fuel, maybe some food supplies, distribution of water, that type of thing,” said Sgt. Otero.
The officers all have family in need in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.
“I was able to make contact with my family in Barranquitas but not in San Sebastian so it’s a little tough not knowing their situation,” said Rodriguez.
“When it’s the place where you come from, it’s a little more closer to home,” said Otero.
Sgt. Otero was born outside of San Juan.
“My brother, he works for the power company down there,” Otero said. “He’s a linesman and he’s restoring power down there to a children’s hospital and stuff but yet his own home, I know that he has no running water. He has no light.”
Officer Ortiz celebrated his 25th anniversary Thursday as a Chelsea police officer. Law enforcement runs in his family, his two brothers are state police officers in Puerto Rico.
“He had to travel three hours just to get a cell phone signal and he’s working with the police and it was bad,” said Ortiz. “I haven’t heard from him since.”
“It’s family. You want to make sure that your family’s OK,” said Otero. “I heard their voices over the phone, but to physically see them would be so reassuring.”
Four Chelsea officers will head to the island. Two will leave Friday and two will leave in two weeks.