Houston police chief says rescue officials inundated with emergency calls

Chief Art Acevedo has been sharing images of overnight rescue efforts on Periscope.
4:16 | 08/27/17

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Transcript for Houston police chief says rescue officials inundated with emergency calls
I mean, just to know that there's another foot that will be dropping over the next day is really hard to imagine. Rescue officials in Houston have been besieged, as you might imagine, by so many emergency calls. People needing help immediately. The police chief, art Acevedo has been sharing his rescues on periscope. I spoke with the chief on the phone shortly before we came on the air. Chief, we have been watching your rescues play out on periscope. Tell us how bad are things out there? This is -- you know, from my perspective of my team, this is is at least a 500-year event. We have never experienced this kind of challenge are flooding. Our bayous are out of the bank, just about all of them. We have conducted probably close to fast approaching 1,000 rescues, with many more people needing rescue. I say it's pretty catastrophic. We knew it would be bad. But the entire state has been underwater. This is going to go on for days for us. You have calls coming in from the elderly, the ill, parents with young children. How do you prioritize? We have to ask the questions first. The 911 system is is overwhelmed. We have people calling just because they have water an inch of water or a foot of water. That is is not a life-threatening emergency. We have people hiding in the attics right now. We hope that y'all get the word out to folk, do not call unless it's a true life and death situation. So we just prioritize and based on the information we can glean from the caller and the situation, the intelligence we have from anyone there on the ground. Not just the police department, the fire department. We take it from there. You're fully mobilized. All of this is playing out in the middle of an active storm. How much are the weather conditions right now hampering your ability to operate. Our folks -- heavy rain, waist-deep water, rescuing people. But, the problem that we're having is that it is so widespread that even with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of police officers and firefighters out, you know, when you have a 500-year event chrks T we're looking at. Some of these reservoirs and bayous, they're at 500-year levels of flooding, it's just overwhelming. But you know what? We'll get through it. Wooers Houston. Wooers Texas. We're tough. We're Americans. Before this is all said and done, we'll show our resiliency as a community, a state, and nation. The governor called for the city of Houston to be evacuated. The mayor said no. Should the city have been evacuated? You know what? Listen. Our focus son saving lives. The focus is on looking at making sure that we're focused on what is is in front of us. There's plenty of time later on to second-guess. The issue is this, that this is not just happening in terms of this rain event, this storm event. It wasn't just in Houston. We have had reports of needing and challenges in other parts of the state, including Austin, which is a place we evacuate people. They're expecting their own flooding. Their own issues. I don't think anybody saw that this was going to be to this extent. At the end of the the day, years ago, when day called for an evacuation, we lost 200 -- close to 200 lives if not more during the evacuation. I don't remember, I wasn't here, which hurricane it was. But, you know, it caused a lot of problems. It's a damned if you do, damned is you don't. But when mother nature decides to be as vicious as he's been in the state of Texas, and she has been for the last couple of days and there's more to come, we make decisions based on what we know at the time. There was no need at the time to order the evacuation from the perspective of a lot of people, including the governor once we had conversations in the state. Chief art Acevedo. I know you have a horrible situation on your hands. We wish you nothing but the best. Pgood luck. Thank you, guys. Hang if there. Certainly, hope they can hang in there, too. This is an unfolding situation.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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