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EPPD providing security for evacuees at NRG Center

El Paso police officers at the NRG Center in Houston. (KFOX14/CBS4)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz visited with volunteer’s at one of Houston’s largest evacuation centers on Thursday as El Paso police officers patrolled the perimeter.

Cruz said he’s confident Washington will back him when it comes to aid for Texas.

“When Congress is back in session, we’re going to see a strong bipartisan support for the people of Texas. I’ve been getting phone calls from senators across the country, Republicans and Democrats saying ‘we’re praying for you, we’ve got your back,’” Cruz said.

Meanwhile, a total of 36 El Paso police officers remain stationed at the NRG Center.

“We’re helping with site security for the evacuees of Houston and we’re helping out in any way possible. Whatever they need from us, we’re doing,” Sgt. Robert

Gomez said the officers arrived in Houston on Tuesday. "What we see here, in the aftermath of Harvey is a community coming together. People helping each other out.”

At one point, more than 1,200 displaced residents were housed at the NRG Center, where they are provided with food, basic necessities and a place to sleep.

Bob Thomas and his wife Sonya have been at the center for the past two days because their home was destroyed by floodwaters.

“We had seven feet of water on the first floor of our house,” Bob said.

“Our furniture was floating; the fridge was floating. I just started crying. It was like being in a movie. It was surreal,” Sonya said.

In spite of the pain they’re enduring, they’re grateful for the help that the El Paso Police Department is providing.

“Oh, God bless them all. I know I’m speaking on behalf of everyone here, I really want to thank you,” Cristina Cave said.

Cave is with Baker Ripley, the non-profit that’s running the center. She said the El Paso officers have helped to create a welcoming atmosphere for the 500 to 600 people who remain at NRG.

“This need is going to be constant. It’s going to be days and days, that’s why it’s crucial to have law enforcement,” Cave said.

All of the El Paso officers who went to Houston volunteered for a 10-day deployment.

Gomez said they work willingly because they know their colleagues there would do the same.

“I’m sure if anything were to happen in El Paso, Houston sheriffs or PD would be the first to come down and help us,” Gomez said.

While the officers remain at the NRG Center Thursday, that could change the next day.

Gomez said their orders change from day to day.

El Paso County sheriff’s deputies have been on patrol helping some suburban police departments. Firefighters from El Paso and Las Cruces are also out in different parts of Southeast Texas helping their colleagues during this extraordinary time of need.

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