The Liberty Hill Police Department sent two officers to Houston on Saturday, in a joint effort with the Round Rock Police Department to help relieve Houston’s overstretched police force.
Officer Royce Graeter and Reserve Officer Greg Gonzalez are expected to stay in Houston for one week.
Liberty Hill City Administrator Greg Boatright said the officers will be helping patrol residential areas, control any looting, and generally maintain police presence in the city.
“They’ll be doing what you could call ‘everyday police work,’” Boatright said. “It all helps take the load off of the Houston police, and allows them to continue responding to emergencies.”
The request to Liberty Hill Police Chief Maverick Campbell came in Friday from Round Rock PD, who themselves had been asked to lend supporting officers by Houston’s department.
Boatright and Liberty Hill Mayor Connie Fuller, who is the police department’s official supervisor, agreed that aid should be sent shortly after hearing the request.
“We felt this was our duty and responsibility to help out our fellow Texans,” Boatright said.
He estimates the cost in sending the officers will end up between $1,500-$1,800. That amount could be absorbed by “attrition” in the city budget’s line for salaries.
“By the end of the year we’ll have some employees that quit. There’s usually a month to two month gap in rehiring someone,” he said. He said furthermore that if that did not happen, “I think our Council would be supportive of finding the money.”
“And even if there wasn’t, I think our Council would be supportive of finding the money in the budget to cover the expense to send those officers down there to help out.”
Current official estimates put the storm’s suspected casualties at more than 60 people, including a veteran Houston police officer.
Flood models released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicate that more than 80,000 homes in Harris County could be damaged by the storm, with 10,000 sustaining major damage.
LHPD posted on Facebook on Saturday that they are “proud of our officers and all of the first responders who have stepped up to help the Gulf Coast and Houston.”