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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — As the East Coast continues recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy, Mississippi is sending more help to the region.
On Sunday, about 50 members of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol's Special Operations Group made the 15-hour trip to New Jersey after a request from Gov. Chris Christie to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.
"They're just going to fill whatever needs New Jersey has, to support the law enforcement efforts up there," Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said.
Strain tells The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/Xde8WU ) the troopers are carpooling to minimize the number of vehicles driven to New Jersey.
He said the troopers are prepared to spend as long as 15 days in New Jersey.
The Mississippi troopers will report to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst near Trenton, N.J., for a swearing-in ceremony.
"They'll have assignments for them," Strain said. "Whatever kind of law enforcement help is needed, that's what they'll do."
The effort is not costing the state any extra money, Strain said, as there is emergency fund money available to New Jersey which will be reimbursed to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. DPS will be reimbursed for any expenses it incurs in aiding New Jersey. The deployments are being made under a mutual aid agreement among the states, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
Meanwhile, Strain said a sufficient number of troopers will be left at home.
"We'll be fine here," Strain said. "It's a situation where a lot of folks reached out to us during Katrina and during the floods (of the Mississippi River in April 2011), and we're just glad we're able to extend a helping hand."
The Special Operations Group consists of troopers from all nine districts throughout the state and responds to civil disturbances, prison and jail uprisings, disasters, manhunts, and any other emergency situation which requires more manpower than SWAT alone can provide.
The troopers are prepared to spend as long as 15 days in New Jersey, Strain said.
"Part of this job is having to leave families and home, and they're prepared to do it," Strain said.
Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com