LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As infrastructure is leveled and filled with water, Lubbock agencies are deploying to help in the Texas Gulf.
The latest deployment is 10 officers from the Lubbock Police Department who will serve as security at shelters for evacuees affected by Harvey.
"The whole team sees this as an opportunity to go down there and serve," Lt. Matt Doherty said. "This could very well be Lubbock experiencing a disaster. We're happy to pitch in. We all see ourselves as a family and a team so we are happy to help."
The request came from the Department of Public Safety late Sunday night to coordinate with other law enforcement agencies also being sent to the area. LPD's first assignment is to report to the mall in Katy, Texas, a staging area, to be dispersed to area shelters.
"Police officers deal with high stress and emotion every shift, so these guys are well equipped to deal with that kind of thing," Lt. Doherty said. "We'll just adjust when we get there and respond to whatever the situation presents."
"There's not really any specialized training we would need based on the mission we have right now, which would be to keep peace and order at shelter facilities," Assistant Chief Neal Barron said. "Our day-to-day operations have helped prepare us for things like this because our officers are used to dealing with chaotic situations, used to restoring order to situations that are somewhat or totally out of control. They are also used to working with other agencies."
The Lubbock County Emergency Management team received its assignment Monday morning after arriving in San Antonio on Sunday evening.
Some personnel were tasked with taking their mobile command unit, equipped with satellite, phone, internet and other communications to the staging area in Katy. Others are in Ingleside, Texas to use their communications trailer to restore radio communication for first responders.
"Ingleside is close to the Rockport and Corpus Christi area, which were the main impacts with wind damage from the hurricane," Lubbock County Emergency Management Coordinator Clinton Thetford said. "Mainly, they've just had infrastructure damage. I know there was at least one community where they lost their primary radio tower."
Thetford says they train on a regular basis to respond to incidents like this and credits the county's willingness to let the team assist in disasters.
"I think it's just the mindset of the West Texas folks," Thetford said. "We're here to help our neighbors."
"The volunteers that are going volunteered last night on shift," Lt. Doherty said. "Two came in to DA shift this morning at 6:30 in the morning and found out we needed a couple more guys and volunteered to put everything on hold. Our families are a big part of that, helping us be flexible and handle things at home when we can't be there."
"I think that's a wonderful statement of our humanity across the board from civilians and law enforcement, fire personnel, EMS personnel - everyone is willing to even volunteer their time to go down there and leave their families behind for a few days to be able to go down and help," Asst Chief Barron said. "It's a good testament to America's ability to stand up when it's time."