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L.A. County sheriff's deputies head to tornado-torn Alabama

April 30, 2011 |  2:29 pm

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has sent four of his Spanish-speaking deputies to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to aid in the recovery efforts there after this week’s deadly tornadoes.

Baca said he spoke to Tuscaloosa Sheriff Ted Sexton, whom he knows well, and was told authorities there were in need of Spanish speakers to help with relief efforts for the county’s Latino community.
“You’ve got to be able to tell them things in the language they’ll understand,” Baca said. “This is an unbelievable tragedy on the scale of Katrina.... The challenges are overwhelming.”

The National Weather Service says the death toll across several states is up to 345, making the storms the second-deadliest tornado blast in U.S. history.

Rescue and relief efforts continue through much of seven states, and hundreds of thousands of people are still without electricity.

Baca said he may send out more deputies if needed. He said the deputies there now will stay as long as they’re needed.

-- Robert Faturechi