A Houston Police Officer Drowned While Driving To Work During Storm Harvey

Police Chief Art Acevedo joined the Houston force in November 2016

A Houston police officer on Sunday morning drowned in his patrol vehicle in floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey, according to city police department officials.

But Sgt. Perez, according to Acevedo, said "We've got work too do", and reported for duty. Sgt. Perez followed protocol, which was to go to a second station in Kingwood.

On Monday morning, Perez's supervisors noticed he did not attend roll call and, after contacting his family, launched a search, Acevedo said. He became trapped in high water at Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll Road and couldn't escape.

Acevedo said the officer's death is hitting the department hard, especially because so many officers are stressed from working non-stop while floodwater rises.

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"The wife told me she asked him not to go in", Acevedo said, his voice choking with emotion. He leaves behind a wife, and a son and daughter.

"We couldn't find him", Acevedo said through tears. "We will continue. This police department is resilient, as is this community and I look forward to taking this man and giving him the honors and his family that he so richly deserves".

A 30-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was on his way to work to help in the disaster on Sunday morning.

Chief Arcevedo said he was "heartened" by the fact he soon realize of the Perez family that this was a "family of faith, faith in God, there's hope in eternal life". Floodwaters have breached a levee south of the city of Houston, officials said Tuesday, urging residents to leave the area immediately. "I've only been here nine months and we've got, you know, 6,500 employees and I knew who Steve Perez was, because he was a sweet, gentle public servant".

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