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Police patrolling devastated Ala city under curfew

By Jay Reeves

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, May 3 2011 3:46 a.m. MDT

Tuscaloosa Police Sgt. Brent Blankley walks through the rubble of homes in the Rosedale section of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Sunday, May 1, 2011 during a night patrol. The Tuscaloosa Police Dept. and Alabama National Guard troops are providing nighttime security during a curfew called following last Wednesdays tornado.

Dave Martin, Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The looters come out at night in Tuscaloosa, Ala. So does the curfew patrol.

With a long, broad band of this city laid waste by a tornado that killed at least 45 people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, Tuscaloosa police have been working 12-hour shifts without any days off just to keep order.

Mayor Walt Maddox imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the ravaged areas, where the power remains off, so officers are now patrolling pitch-black, storm-tossed neighborhoods they once knew by heart to keep the storm's toll from getting any worse.

In the days after the twisters, residents complained of widespread looting.

Since then, Gov. Robert Bentley has sent in Alabama National Guard troops to staff checkpoints in the mostly heavily damaged areas.

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