AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “Police officers in Waveland have been patrolling their community by using their own vehicles,” Weldon said of post-hurricane patrols. “It feels good to help out anybody in need. People in this town come together when there’s a cause; El Monte has a long history of that.” Along with the police units, a slew of police-related equipment (such as batons and handcuffs), utility supplies, and monetary and clothing donations were also given to Waveland Police Chief James Varnell, said Lakin. In addition, local law enforcement associates helped raise $22,000 to assist six Gulfport, Miss., families who hosted a group of El Monte teenagers for a youth baseball event in 2001. Five of the six families notified Detective Larry Fry, who spearheaded the fund-raising efforts, that their homes and businesses had been destroyed by Katrina. Attempts to locate the sixth family were unsuccessful, added Lakin. El Monte officials said the Mississippi visit undertaking was largely done through volunteer efforts and donations. Though a greater El Monte police presence could not join in the two-day cross-country trip to Waveland, Lakin said, associates from Teamsters Joint Council No. 42 contributed drivers, fuel expenses and a big-rig to assist in the donations transfer. EL MONTE — When Sgt. Bret Lakin returned to his childhood home state of Mississippi earlier this month, it was not for a vacation. Lakin and his partner, Detective Dave Avalos, drove the nearly 2,000 miles from El Monte to the hurricane-ravaged region to show their support for fellow law enforcement brethren — and to personally deliver some vehicular backup — on behalf of the El Monte Police Department. The local police unit donated a 1997 Crown Victoria and a 2002 Kawasaki motorcycle to the Waveland, Miss., force after the city’s entire police fleet had been destroyed by a 30-foot tidal surge from Katrina. Both vehicles, which were high-mileage, were originally slated for public auction, according to El Monte police chief Ken Weldon. Lakin described the Gulf Coast region as “something else” post-Katrina. He said that signs of physical damage and its toll on residents were still evident throughout Mississippi six weeks after the hurricane. “It certainly gives you a feeling of satisfaction in terms of having done something positive,” Lakin said, “but, in the same respect, the devastation was so overwhelming, you could literally feel the exhaustion emitting from these people. “They were tired, very tired.” — Araceli Esparza can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2303, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!