Local authorities assist with FBI searches

Reported by: Robert Byers
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Updated: 5/03/2013 4:46 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - As the investigation into poison letters containing ricin continues by federal authorities, Tupelo Police and Fire Department officials and other local authorities remain on standby to assist.

You've seen them at the scene of these searches whether it's blocking off an area or some of their equipment is being used.

Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton says those kinds of events are already factored in to their operation.

Carleton said, "We just reschedule some of the things we have going on. We possibly pull officers from other details and assign them to this. Certainly this would take priority and we certainly want to assist in any way we can."

The chief says there is normally no extra cost to the city for providing assistance like this.

The Tupelo Fire Department's Chief Thomas Walker showed us some of the equipment made available during some of the recent searches involving potentially hazardous materials.

Firemen say they have what's known as the haz mat truck which can help in any number of situations.

Tupelo Fire Department Captain Bradley Bridges said, "We use this when you have any kind of fuel spills, poisons, chlorine or assisting the FBI which is what we've done. We'll take the equipment off here that the average fire department or company doesn't have."

Tupelo was able to get the equipment years ago after 9/11 through Homeland Security dollars.

Tupelo Fire Department Chief Thomas Walker said, "They funneled a lot of money our way and allowed us to buy a lot more elaborate equipment. We're very fortunate to have this equipment in this area. It's to be able to help the north end of the state or even the entire state if necessary."

Walker says normally in searches like we've seen recently, the FBI brings in its own equipment and people.

He adds they're ready to roll out at any time to help secure a scene.

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