Crawford county search and rescue crews headed to Texas on Wednesday to help with rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
A total of six law enforcement officers from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and Mountainburg Police Department headed to College Station, Texas, with supplies and search and rescue boats.
Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown received a request for assistance from the Arkansas Sheriff on behalf of the Texas Sheriff’s Association.
“They specifically asked for the boats, so I imagine this crew is doing water rescue,” Brown said.
More crews may be deployed in the future to help with other needs as cities struck by the hurricane continue to search for victims, Brown said.
Hurricane Harvey, an active and major tropical cyclone causing catastrophic flooding in southeastern Texas and Louisiana, first struck land at about 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at Rockport, Texas, at peak intensity with winds of 130 mph, according to hurricane advisories.
It made landfall again on Wednesday, again striking Texas and then southwestern Louisiana as it made its way east.
Rain accumulations for the hurricane broke the record for the continental U.S. at 51.88 inches registered by a rain gauge in Highlands, Texas, slightly northeast of Houston.
At least 31 deaths have been attributed to the hurricane, and tens of thousands of people have been left looking for shelter.
Two officers with the MPD, Sgt. Andrew McIntosh and Cpl. Bruce Fletcher, left Wednesday morning with a boat and supplies donated by officers, said Mountainburg Police Chief Vincent Clamser.
Two other Mountainburg officers volunteered but were unable to take time off work, Clamser said.
Capt. Shawn Firestine and deputies Rick Dahlem, Donnie Threet and Emily Thomas from the sheriff’s department headed to College Station a little after noon Wednesday.
“I’m just thankful that we’re getting to go down there and help those people,” Threet said.
Brown and Clamser registered with the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a national mutual aid system that allows the agencies to be reimbursed for expenses, said Brad Thomas, Crawford County Emergency Management director.
By going through the EMAC, law enforcement volunteers can be directed to where they are most needed, Thomas said.
“We’re doing things the right way,” Thomas said.
Mountainburg officers took the MPD rescue boat, while sheriff’s deputies took a boat each from the CCSD and the Crawford County Department of Emergency Management.
Brown was clear about the fact that the volunteers sent to help with flood victims will not impact the safety of the county.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to go help; we’ll need them to help us if it ever happens here,” Brown said.