Hattiesburg Police Department recruit class assist in tornado relief

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Members of the 31st recruit class partnered with community members to assist in tornado recovery along east 7th street by demolishing a heavily damaged home.

"We are here with Ebenezer Baptist Church helping them with residences that were actually damaged with the tornado from February of last year and we are helping with taking and tearing it down clearing the spot out," said Hattiesburg Public Information Officer Lt. Jon Traxler.

Homes along east 7th street still bare the marks of devastation left from the February 2013 EF-4 tornado that swept through the city.

"It feels good, ya know, I like to come out into the community and help people out, that's one of the reasons i tried to join because i really wanted to help people when I get the chance," said Erick Mitchan, an HPD recruit.

Since the tornado, multiple volunteer groups have focused on the area helping demolish and remove debris to provide green space. Members of the Hattiesburg police department stated it is an ongoing process with pitching in and volunteering to help beautify the community.

"In the past its been the neighborhood enhancement team, or the motorcycle team, stuff like that, its been different groups, and this time we had the recruit class going on so we figured it would be a good day to bring them out and let them see the community as well, and let them help out as well,"said Traxler.

Members of the HPD added they wanted to do their part to help out the community as much as possible.

"We want people to not only see us as police officers whenever there is a problem, but we like people to see us also as we come in here to help people, not just when there is a time of emergency and somebody is in trouble or something like that," said Traxler.