Volunteer pilot helps law enforcement in, out of Waterloo

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WATERLOO, Neb. (WOWT) - When floods cut off communities like Waterloo, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office assumed the duty of helping local police protect people in property. The problem was getting there.

Two deputies made the trip in a helicopter instead of a cruiser. They arrived back at headquarters after a 12-hour shift inside of Waterloo.

"It's good to be out. It's a long two days. But get some sleep, everyone is tired," Sgt. Tim Owens said.

Deputies still inside Waterloo patrolled the area in vehicles taken there before water cut off the community.

"Responding to people stranded in vehicles, checking on road conditions, checking of bridges," Owens explained.

Some residents who make it out of Waterloo before the water made its way in were concerned about their property and were thankful law enforcement is keeping an eye on it.

"It makes me happy, makes me feel safe. Worried about people looting and stuff out there and it's nice to know somebody is watching," resident Sean Haston said.

The two deputies who disembarked to head back to headquarters were replaced with two fresh faces.

"Some Blackhawks from Lincoln that are helping with rescue, they can maintain their assistance on rescue and this private helicopter can shuttle my personnel in and out of the zone," Capt. Wayne Hudson explained.

Pilot Kim Wolfe spent time shuttling the deputies to the isolated town. His airtime was donated.

"I think Nebraskans and a lot of people through the country are willing to give, and we have a different tool that's about it," Wolfe with Husker Helicopter said.

Wolfe flew deputies, fire personnel and bridge engineers to hot spots where the cold floodwaters prevented access, even by boat.

He said he's logged about eight hours a day in his helicopter, and not just in Douglas County. He also flew hay to stranded livestock in Central Nebraska.