Mather, California - As the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) continues coordinating a wide range of mutual aid resources for battling wildfires, the state's law enforcement mutual aid system is also actively deploying law enforcement officers from around the state to protect lives, homes and property in communities where evacuations have left residents out of their homes and communities empty.
"It's law enforcement's role to conduct evacuations, protect lives, homes and property while ensuring law enforcement in areas threated by wildfires," said Cal OES Law Branch Chief Mark Pazin. "We are responsible for sending teams of law enforcement officers from around the state to help local agencies respond to the challenges that wildfires pose, and to reassure anxious residents," he said.
Cal OES coordinates law enforcement officers from jurisdictions all around the state using the Law Enforcement Mutual Aid (LEMA) system. Nearly One hundred mutual aid officers deployed to Lake and Trinity Counties are battling two of the biggest fires burning in Northern California. The mutual aid officers represent the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Parks, Sacramento County Sheriff, Sacramento Police Department, Citrus Heights Police Department and others.
"The entire public safety community - law, fire and the civilian side - are working together for this perfect trifecta," said Pazin. "So the system works."
Law enforcement personnel deployed to these disasters are working around the clock. As one team of officers leaves, they will be replaced by another for as long as is needed to maintain law and order. If more wildfires erupt and stretch the resources of local law enforcement agencies in California, Cal OES has the ability to bring in officers from other states through a cooperative agreement called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
The State Operations Center (SOC) at Cal OES headquarters activated Friday, July 31st, and continues to coordinate the state's response and recovery efforts for approximately 20 large wildfires burning in California.