Minneapolis officer lends a hand in flooded Kansas, calls experience 'humbling'

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Water levels remain dangerously high in much of the Midwest, leading officials there to call on neighboring states for help. 

From Illinois to Arkansas, severe flooding has led to levee breaches and evacuations.

Many states are now asking for help, calling on their neighbors to send in reinforcements.

“It was a lot of long hours, but the mission was right and the people were good,” said Minneapolis Police Public Information Officer John Elder.

Elder was sent down to Kansas after Gov. Laura Kelly turned to Minnesota for reinforcement for their communication teams.

“I went down and aided with a lot of different means of social media,” Elder said. “We did a lot of social media, we did a lot of public information.”

Elder took a video of the Tuttle Creek Dam, an hour and a half outside Topeka, as they released 30,000 cubic feet of water per second in an effort to keep the dam from going over.

The area has been dealing with severe flooding since early May.

“It's very humbling to be a part of this and see where the water is 60 feet over where it should be,” Elder said. “And to see the devastation that’s done and to see how the people in that area work together.”

Elder says he will be bringing what he learned back to the Twin Cities as the experience has better prepared him for when natural disaster hits home.

“I’m now better-versed in dealing with what’s going to come our way,” Elder explained. “Lessons learned down there were vast.”

Something Elder is bringing back to Minneapolis is how well local organizations and law enforcement communicated to better serve their community.

In an effort to duplicate that, Minneapolis Police will be hosting a regional public information group in the coming months. It will bring communication teams together from all over the Twin Cities metro area to connect and collaborate.