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Loudoun deputies can't reach FEMA, Louisiana officials
Loudoun County deputies headed for Louisiana told to turn around

Date published: 9/2/2005

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - A group of Loudoun County sheriff's deputies heading to Louisiana to help maintain order among hurricane refugees had to turn around at the Virginia border when they couldn't get confirmation from emergency management officials, the Loudoun County sheriff said.

After attempting for 12 hours to reach officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center, the deputies were told to head home. The group of 22 officers and six emergency medical technicians was expected to arrive back in Leesburg by 2 a.m. Friday, according to a statement from the sheriff's office.

"How many people have to die in the interim while they try to make this happen?" Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson told WRC-TV.

The deputies were to be sworn in locally as law enforcement officers in Jefferson Parish, La. near New Orleans. Their assistance had been requested by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department through the National Sheriff's Association in an Aug. 31 letter, said Sheriff's spokesman Kraig Troxell.

A three-week schedule was planned to rotate deputies from Loudoun County to areas of Louisiana that needed help, Troxell said. The deputies were carrying extra guns, ammunition and supplies to make them self-sufficient for seven to 14 days.

The group waited in Harrisonburg, Va. for several hours Thursday night until they were told that officials from FEMA and the state of Louisiana couldn't confirm the request from Jefferson Parish.