RICHMOND, R.I. (WPRI) -- A contingent of Rhode Island State Troopers who assisted in New Jersey for the last week have returned home.
The 19 Troopers deployed last weekend to Brick Township, New Jersey to assist the New Jersey State Police and local police departments with law-enforcement as recovery efforts continue after Hurricane Sandy.
They worked an overnight shift Friday and hit the road as soon as it ended, arriving at the Hope Valley barracks early Saturday morning.
Lieutenant Kevin Barry told Eyewitness News that the devastation was eye-opening.
"You have to actually see it to understand the amount of damage that happened," Barry said, "specifically to Barrier Island. The houses are completely decimated. Entire neighborhoods had burned down."
Troopers were also keeping watch over the island to prevent looters from accessing the area, and were there as residents were allowed back in to see what was left of their homes.
"Some of them would come back and there would actually be nothing there. No sign of an actual house that they had, ever. No foundation, no shingles, nothing. The house was completely gone."
RI Troopers made an arrest Friday night on their last shift, catching a man who had shot another person in a dispute over money and then fled on foot. Earlier in the week, troopers arrested a man after finding a large quantity of marijuana and a knife in his car during a traffic stop.
Barry said the deployment made the Troopers realize just how lucky Rhode Island had been to dodge most of Sandy's wrath.
"If this had storm had tracked differently, they'd be coming to help us. And they would do it."