‘When people need us, we’re going to be there:’ Wartburg Police assists after deadly flooding


WARTBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – We have seen East Tennesseans helping our neighbors in need in the aftermath of deadly weekend flooding.

A crew from the Wartburg Police Department responded to Waverly, Tenn. They returned home Monday night.

“They put us with different teams to do search and rescue with our drones,” said Dwayne Bales, the owner of Blue Line Security. Bales was on the ground in Waverly with Wartburg Police Captain Michael Cox.

The two men brought and operated drones. They say the mission was two fold: helping in search efforts, but also watching searchers from overhead to keep them safe, too.

“We can actually see overhead what they’re getting in to to make sure they don’t get injured,” Cox said. “We have thermal on the drones, so we can actually pick up heat signatures, if someone is lost or missing we can actually find them in the debris field or in the water or in the woods.”

Cox and Bales have responded to natural disasters before, but they say this one was striking.

“Probably one of the worst devastation me and him have both seen,” Bales said.

And as they reflect on the trip, they’re remembering why they didn’t even hesitate to go in the first place.

“It’s what we do,” Bales said.

“In the State of Tennessee, we’re all neighbors. Our profession is we’re here to help people. And when it’s in our backyard, in the state of Tennessee, we’re going to help. When people need us, we’re going to be there,” said Cox.

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