PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Billy Byrd is a 20 year veteran of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. He went through Hurricane Opal while he was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, and worked at the Sheriff’s Office after Hurricane Michael.
When communications failed, Byrd and his fellow deputies had a laminated map laid out so they could cross out areas they’d covered.
“The what ifs and not being able to communicate with my guys, not knowing if they’re okay is what affected me the most,” Byrd said.
He describes his department as resilient and says they focus on what they can do better instead of what they did well after the storm.
“If you’re gonna focus on what you did good, it’s not really making you any better. But [if] you focus on your deficiencies and things that you could do better, it’s ultimately making you better in the event that we have to go through something like this again,” Byrd said.