The waters have receded from Somerville, but the city is still drenched in the effects of this month’s destructive and costly flash flooding.
“It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to the police department,” Chief Michael Cabral said. His department bore the brunt of the storm’s devastation — and will continue to for weeks. Nearly half of the police department’s vehicle fleet was damaged or destroyed, and its communications center was totaled.
Because the water wiped out the communications equipment in the public safety building, officers are scattered throughout the city, working out of neighborhood stations. Many of them have stepped up and adapted to new duties like answering phones, Cabral said.
The state police mobile 911 center now answers the city’s emergency calls. Replacing the communications equipment could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Cabral said.
The cruisers once used only by command officers and spare cars that were about to be auctioned off because of their age are now in use.
The flooding got so bad that the only salvageable parts of some cruisers were the roof lights.
One good sign is that the city recently authorized the purchase of eight new cruisers and eight new motorcycles to replace the ones destroyed. However, workers are now examining the engines of 10 other cruisers.
“We’ll make do,” Cabral said, adding that he hopes the department can move back into its headquarters in the next couple of weeks. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll get through this crisis.”