Arlington Police Answer the Call for Hurricane Help

Stepping Up

Kudos to Alumnus Kyle Dishko and the Arlington Police Department who helped out in Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts.

For more than a week, a team of 19 officers from the Arlington Police Department called the racquetball courts at Sam Houston State University home.

The SHSU team, led by Bearkat Lt. Kyle Dishko, was one of two sent from the northern Texas city to aid local law enforcement during Hurricane Harvey. During their stay, the team helped secure shelters, block roads, patrol streets and waterways, protect distribution centers and assist residents in Harris, Liberty and Montgomery Counties.

“It was really anything the first responders wanted us to do,” said Lt. Dishko. “I think it is the duty of the first responder. We all have experienced tough times, and we can bring resources to the table. We want to help people in need.”

The Arlington Police Department, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, has been a longtime supporter of the College of Criminal Justice, hiring many graduates and regularly participating in recruitment events at Career Fairs and in the CJ Lobby. In turn, Sam Houston State University came to their aid during the storm, providing a separate rest area for them at the Health and Kinesiology Center.

Every morning, Matt Wagner, associate professor of Kinesiology brought them breakfast tacos or donuts before they hit the road. The university also made sure the officers had a meal at the end of their long shifts. “I am proud to be a Bearkat,” said Lt. Dishko. “I am so proud of my University. A lot of people gave to us as we gave to other people.”

During the storm, the SHSU team was in the Woodlands and Conroe, assisting the Texas Department of Public Safety in blocking roads and guarding shelters set up in the area. “Our guys stood out in the rain for 12 hours,” Dishko said.

The team stayed in Montgomery County for several days, assisting in the flooded community of River Plantation, securing the shelter at the Lone Star Convention Center, and protecting the distribution Center on Pollok Road.

As the water receded, the group was assigned to Liberty County, where they patrolled Cleveland and the rest of the county. Some of the officers also aided Florida Game Wardens on the Trinity River.

As operations were scaled back and Sam Houston State University resumed classed, the team joined the second Arlington deployment in Houston, patrolling the streets of the city. In addition to one Lieutenant, five Sergeants, and 13 officers at SHSU, the second team assigned to the Houston Police Department included one Lieutenant, 2 Sergeants, and 17 officers.

“Houston police officers have not had a day off since this started,” Dishko said. “They have been working 12 hour shifts. This will allow officers to have a day off.”

Member of The Texas State University System