N.J. to deploy 50 state troopers to assist Puerto Rico amid earthquake crisis

In this New Jersey State Police image from October 2017, New Jersey state troopers pose for a picture in Puerto Rico during a deployment after Hurricane Maria.

In this New Jersey State Police image from October 2017, New Jersey state troopers pose for a picture in Puerto Rico during a deployment after Hurricane Maria.

A contingent of New Jersey State Troopers will soon head to Puerto Rico to assist the U.S. territory amid an ongoing earthquake crisis, authorities announced Tuesday.

Gov. Phil Murphy authorized the deployment, which will include 50 state troopers set to depart this Saturday and return on Feb. 9.

According to the New Jersey State Police, a seven-member advance team will fly to San Juan on Wednesday and travel to the southern coastal city of Ponce, near where more than 1,000 earthquakes have shaken the island since late December, to coordinate with local officials.

Authorities say the deployment’s mission will consist of providing force protection at seven base camps throughout the Ponce region that are currently housing between 2,000 and 5,000 residents on a daily basis.

Troopers will also be assigned to major traffic control posts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the duration of the deployment.

“Before we departed from the last of our deployments to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, we made a promise to local officials and residents that should they ever need us again, we would be there. Today we are making good on that promise,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “We are deploying a highly skilled contingent of troopers that will be able to immediately integrate into the recovery efforts already in place.”

New Jersey is providing assistance through the Emergency Management Assistant Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement allowing states and territories to share resources in response to natural and man-made disasters.

At the time of the Hurricane Maria deployment, Gov. Chris Christie said the federal government would reimburse the state for deployment expenses.

Law enforcement agencies from around the country assisted New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

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