First responders from several Central Texas law enforcement agencies have answered the call for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Several officers from the Central Texas Regional Swat Team got a request from Pearland Police on Sunday. The crew, which included two officers from the Leander Police Department, one from the Georgetown Police Department and one from the Cedar Park Police Department, took a tactical rescue vehicle and headed into the flood zone.
The team assisted Pearland police rescuing or evacuating about 60 people. In between rescues they transported paramedics to 911 calls. The team returned to Central Texas Wednesday afternoon.
On Sunday, the Williamson County Sheriff's office deployed two crews to the Houston area. They currently have eight deputies, two boats and one hovercraft in the flood-ravaged city. Wilco sheriff's deputies have made more than 100 rescues so far. On Wednesday, they used their hovercraft to save a woman who was having a diabetic episode. The sheriff's office says their crews will remain in Houston for as long as they're needed.
On Wednesday, the Travis County Sheriff's Office sent one boat and two deputies to help with search and rescue efforts in the Houston-area.
TCSO says they got a request from the Houston Police Department through the Texas Division of Emergency Management Tuesday night, their crew left the following morning. The deputies will be using a zodiac boat to make water rescues.
The sheriff's office says the reason they didn't leave sooner, like some other local law enforcement teams did, is because they were not requested and TCSO doesn't "self-deploy." They need to be given a mission so as not to get in the way or go unutilized. In addition, there was concern about the weather at home.
"I will tell you that we wanted more than anything to release assets, but it was predicted that Travis County was facing up to 10-15 inches of rain through Monday and we know here in Travis County that flash flooding happens quickly and we needed to be prepared for swift water rescue here in Travis County," said Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez. "But as soon as that threat was over and a request came in for one of our boats we sent that boat today."
TCSO says the Houston Police Department has told them to "stand down" when it comes to sending more resources. But, when the rescue effort turns into one of recovery, deputies will likely be needed in Houston.
Meanwhile, the Austin Police Department says it has volunteered one of its flat-bottom boats along with a crew. However, the Houston Police Department has not requested their assistance yet. APD is waiting to receive direction from HPD about providing security once the water recedes.
On Friday, the Hays County Sheriff's Office will send ten of its deputies and a dispatcher to the Port Aransas Police Department. The team will help local police in the gulf coast city devastated by Hurricane Harvey. They will remain there for two weeks.
Sheriff Gary Cutler says many Port Aransas police officers have been working around the clock, despite having suffered catastrophic losses of their own, in terms of homes and property. Deputies will help relieve these officers so they can take care of their families and get some much needed rest.
Port Aransas remains without power and is on lockdown at night.