>> it's a sad situation to see a major american city in this condition. >> army corps of engineers has been given a mission to restore power on puerto rico. >> the response is not working. >> we are doing everything we can to assist the people suffering. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alyson camerota. >> good morning. welcome to your "new day". the trump administration is defending its response to storm-ravaged puerto rico. fact, there are more than 10,000 people on the ground to help. homeland adviser says more are on the way. pentagon appointed a three-star is general, jeffrey buchanan, to lead the logistical efforts on that island. the two men heading up the recovery effort are said to join us on "new day" in the next half hour. >> we can't wait to talk to them to get the real facts. the situation in puerto rico on
the ground is growing more desperate by the second if you talk to people on the ground there. our reportersers see widespread devastation. our cameras were there as people tried to cross this river using a wire and rope after maria wiped out a bridge. people 40 on miles outside of san juan are pleading for help. they are walking hours just to get some bread or rice. so the reality is very frightening. look at this. this is drone video that was shot just yesterday. obviously you see all the houses, mangled roofs blown away. it is very hard for people to live in these conditions. cnn has the story covered with a team of reporters. boris sanchez is live in san juan. tell us what you have learned about how supplies can get out to people. >> reporter: good morning, alyson. it certainly has been a challenge. people are asking us where is
fema, where they can find fema, where they can find the supplies they desperately need. this gas station opened a few moments ago. people are lining up. there are massive, massive lines. if you look down the street, this isn't street parking. these are about 100 vehicles as far as the eye can see parked here. they have been waiting in line for hours. i spoke to the gentleman they are front of the line. he told me he got here at 9:00 p.m. last night. they ran out of gas. so he parked his car and decided to go to sleep, to wait until this morning when the police finally showed up to direct people into this gas station to get what they need. i spoke to one woman who said the lines aren't just at gas stations. she was at a supermarket yesterday and she was waiting several hours to get inside. she became extremely disappointed when she finally got inside and there was no water available. the food she was looking for just wasn't on the shelves.
it is a serious problem. it is keeping a ton of supplies, 10,000 shipping containers full of goods at the port. hopefully today they will have enough truckers and fuel to put them out onto store shelves where help is desperately needed, chris. >> just one ample of the reality and proof of why it is not a good news story all around. boris, thank you very much. stay well down there. president trump is standing behind his administration's report. he is tweeting saying puerto rico is devastated. true. many roads gone. true. fema and first responders are amazing. fema. governor said great job. all true. but there seems to be a disconnect between what you're hearing in washington about it all being good news and what the obvious reality is on the ground. bill weir has been there all week since the destruction firsthand, telling us stories to help us connect to it. he joins us now live with san
juan. bill, as you know, and you have seen it before, two things can be true at once. they can be doing a good job, getting a lot of resources trying damn hard as only americans can. and the situation on the ground can still be a crisis of epic proportion. >> absolutely. but when you call 911, you don't want to hear a cascade of excuses. you want to hear, we hear you. we feel for you. and we're coming as fast as we can. this administration tries every day to shoot the messenger. it doesn't ultimately hurt us. it helps the people we're trying to help by sounding the alarm down here. this is epic for fema. after irma. we have fantastic military. but they have to worry about north korea and afghanistan and the middle east in addition now to humanitarian aid. all of those things are true.
but the reality is i have yet to see one federal uniform outside our hotel, out on the countryside, on the island vieques. we had people come up and say, are you fema? i would love to tell you amazing story of airlifts and sailors amphibiously storming the beaches of these hard-hit communities. we are hearing on vieques, of the 10,000 stranded, they got a fuel shipment. the coast guard brought water and a little bit of food. that is just the beginning of the triage that's needed from the islands to the mountains, chris. >> look, i hear you. thank you for what you're doing. you helped us understand a situation. without you there, as difficult as it is, we wouldn't know the other side of the story.
bill, be well. thank you very much. joining us on the phone is the governor of puerto rico. governor, good to hear you, as always. >> thank you, chris. thank you for the opportunity. >> it is for you as long as you want it. if we can be of service, you have an outlet here as long as you want it. the president points to you as someone providing proof that the effort on the ground is great. and you know there is a stark contrast between great and the conditions that way too many of your people are living in. how do you explain the two versions of reality? >> well, it is logistic support and forming good news. we are increasing the capabilities. within the limitations, all hands on deck. that's what's important. and recognizing that, you know, the different components of the national guard, the military,
fema and our government are working together on the priorities. certainly there is a lot of work to do over here. we really need to increase the delivery rates. we really need to enhance our logistics. fema has been on the phone virtually all the time with me checking out how things are going. this morning alone i had a conversation with our generals seeing how much of the capabilities and we are increasing about more than 1,000 personnel that's coming over here. just on the generals side. and we are starting to get help from new york and new jersey as well as other key states. >> what do you say to the people on the island of vieques in the outlying areas outside of san
juan when they hear the recovery is going great. they can't belive that. they tell our reporters all the time we haven't seen anything. we are in a state of pitched desperation. what do you say to them that the reaction so far has been great? they don't understand that. >> i understand that. that's why you alluded to it in your intro. two components that can happen at the same time. we are maximizing all the resources we have so we can deliver water, food, and supplies. we do have a logistical limitation. it has been enhancing. but it is is still nowhere near where it needs to be. however, we do have, again, information that a lot of these, you know, personnel, people that will transport, that will manage fuel, that will be engineering bridges, that will be working with our medical personnel are here or are on their way. again, we got a report this morning that over 1,000 of them
are here and are ready to be deployed. missions are going all over puerto rico. we have identified 11 regional spots so mayors can go get water, food and supplies. and now really working on the logistics of diesel and fuel so we can district them. we are starting to get more tankers. and the truck drivers are starting to respond. >> what was understood about the logistical considerations early on? because obviously there's been a shift. they are changing infrastructure. how to do things, when they are doing things. what was understood early on that needed to be shifted? >> well, here's what
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over health secretary tom pri price's use of private planes. it is now reported that price used military aircraft to travel overseas. price is offering to pay the government back, only $50,000, the cost of his one seat, not the total cost reported to be more than $1 million. joe johns is live at the white house with the details. hi, joe. >> members of the house and senate from both parties are asking questions about this issue involving jet travel and the health secretary. tom price promised to pay the money back and says he will not take any more chartered flights. but the inspector general is looking into it. the president for his part would certainly love to get beyond this issue, but the drip, drip, drip of information continues. health secretary tom price under fire for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer
money for trips on private jets. cnn has learned it doesn't stop there. an air force official says price also took military aircraft for two multi-stop international trips earlier this year, racking up a $500,000 bill according to politico. those overseas trips, which the white house approved, bringing the total cost of price's travel to over $1 million. >> wi heae heard the concern an critici criticism. >> reporter: price pledging on thursday to pay back a portion of the totalling. riting a check for 51 t$51,887.. >> to pay for my portion of those trips. this is unprecedented. >> reporter: the white house releasing a statement on thursday defending his travel on aircraft insisting sometimes
it's an proep yaappropriate and necessary use of resources. as for the 26 flights price has taken since may. the administration taking a tougher tone. >> the white house has not have a role on the front end of approving chartered flights. that's something we're looking into from this point forward. >> reporter: sources tell cnn price's pore initial artial rep the flights is not helping his case with the president, but that president trump is not ready to fire the health secretary. >> i'm not happy about it. i let him know it. >> reporter: this wasteful use of taxpayer money flying in the face of one of trump's key campaign promises. >> it's time to drain the damn swamp. >> reporter: it's also the same type of spending price railed against then house speaker nancy pelosi for in 2010. >> i want to say to the speaker, don't you fly over our country in your luxury jet and lecture us on what it means to be an
american. >> the treasury secretary, steve mnuchin, and the epa administrator, scott pruitt, have also come under fire for using taxpayer dollars for costly flights. according to politico and the "washington post," the interior secretary has taken some flights, too including $12,000 flight to his hometown for a political trip. the spokesperson for the department says that trip was approved by ethics officials. back to you. >> joe, thank you very much. let's discuss all this with cnn chief legal analyst jeffrey to be toobin and walter shalp. you described what you saw unfolding yesterday with tom price's story as really weird what was it in particular that stuck out to you? >> you have the secretary of
interior flying around on a jet owned by the oil and gas industry. even stranger, we're paying for it. there's authority for the acceptance of reimbursement of outside travel from outside sources if you go through a process with the ethics officials. and when they reference the ethics officials, i thought that might be what they're talking about. apparently we paid the bill for that. >> so, the word from the inside here, the spin is, look, maybe it was too much. but this happens. people use government flights when they're in government office. that's how they get around. it's often easier. they don't have to pre-plans much. it happens. do you buy that? >> no, not at all. this doesn't happen. on the rare occasions when it does, it's always big news. you heard secretary price himself when he was in congress shouting don't you fly over america in your luxury jets. then he ran off and started doing that. this is completely outside the culture of the executive branch and completely inconsistent with
the ethical principles of preserving the public's trust and resources. but this is also the inevitable consequences of a bad tone from the top that i started warning about in a speech on january 11th when i risked my career to warn the president that if he keeps behaving the way he does, keeping his properties, advertising his properties, his cabinet and lower level official also follow his lead. >> but yet president trump is quite upset about this with tom price. jeffrey, despite whatever liberties he may be taking, he's upset with tom price. >> when you look at the federal budget, over $1 trillion. $1 million is less than a drop in the bucket. donald trump understands how the public perceives things. this million dollar -- these million dollar private plane flights, that's what people will remember about tom price. they won't remember anything
else. and that's embarrassing to the administration about someone who appears to be, you know, luxe y luxuriating on the public dollar. >> he is offering to pay back $50,000 for his seat. >> i wonder if that makes it better or worse. the taxpayers are on the hook for a million dollars, he's paying 50,000. it's a gesture. tom price is a former member of congress who came in part, in significant part to do healthcare reform, which has gone up in flames. so the president is ill-disposed towards him to start with. >> other controversy. the e-mail usage. let's start with you. on an ethical level before we get to legal exposure because of kushner being part of that investigation what is the rule about using a private e-mail account if i'm working in the white house? >> you're asking me. the rule is you're supposed to use the government e-mail.
>> do you have to? is it a mandatory thing? can you also use -- can you get a waiver? is there a way to disclose it? what's the deal? >> no, no. there's no waiver for it they're covered by the presidential records act, which unlike the federal records act, which covers other agencies, mandates the retention of all work-related records. they do have a policy to be a catch-all when people violate the rule, they're supposed to forward copies of the e-mails to the white house systems. >> just relevant ones or all of them? >> all of them if they're work related because of the presidential records acts. >> so there is discretion. >> only if they're not work related. the problem is if you go around using your private system, you're just inviting investigators to come and check your e-mail, personal e-mail to see if you followed the rule to forward them to the white house. >> i thought we learned this less lesson, jeffrey. can i have the two years of my life back from the last
presidential race? the hypocrisy is almost too perfect. every rally the chant was lock her up because hillary clinton used a private server. >> that different than using a private e-mail account? >> i don't see it. >> it's bigger. you install a private serve ner your home as opposed to hot mail. >> hot mail? >> i went there. i went there. >> the hot mail got the whole segment ended. >> honestly, you don't see a distinction? >> absolutely not. the rule is either that you use government e-mail or you don't. the fact that one is a private server or one is hot mail f anybody remembers what hot mail is, or gmail which is more contemporary, they are non-governmental e-mails. >> we have to go. we know what the distinction will be. she had control of the e-mails. she decided what she would turn
over. and there were efforts to destroy things by hillary clinton. >> but jared kushner's lawyer said we are turning over those e-mails. he's deciding -- >> he's doing the same thing. >> it is different because she had a private server, but the question is if that's a distinction that makes a difference. >> gentlemen, thank you very much. has the white house done enough to help people in puerto rico? the president is saying yes, we're doing great. listen to the governor. he says everything he asks for we give him. okay. tell that to that man walking in the water in front of your face right now. tell that to the people who have no power, no water, no chance of sustainable life right now. do they feel it's great? of course not. that's why it's a tale of two realities there right now. we'll check in with one of the people in charge of the effort next.
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response to the puerto rican governor's interview that we just did. saying you see that? the puerto rico governor just stated the administration and the president, every time we've spoken, they've delivered. he then said something else. he said the fact is that puerto rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes. then this sentence. please focus on it. big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding. what does that mean? i didn't see anything like that after florida, after texas. let's discuss with somebody at the center of this relief effort. homeland security adviser tom bosser. thanks for join pg us. can you help me understand? what does that mean, big decisions have to be made. sounds like an open ended question as to whether the government is doing whatever is necessary. >> chris, you're welcome. let me tell two answers. we always have big discussions after disasters pertaining to cost. but puerto rico started this one
$72 billion in debt. >> hold on one second. hold on -- >> let me go -- >> you will make your points, tom. i promise. i don't understand the connection between $72 million in debt and whether will you help them rebuild. make that point. >> let me finish answering. the idea here, chris, with them being in debt, they don't have enough ready liquid cash to pay their normal share like florida and texas had. what we'll do and the president has done it, give a $180 adjustment, and the federal government is making sures li l are protected. that's the president's point. >> so the president will do whatever it takes. >> the president is already doing whatever it takes. he's looking on the horizon for decisions that will come over the next three, four weeks and the next three, four months. >> we'll assume that means the
full energy and effort will be there to rebuild puerto rico like it was for florida and texas. now to the larger question. there's no question that the governor of puerto rico says you guys have been responsible, active there for him. that's never been questioned. he also acknowledges that the reality for millions of people on the ground is unacceptable. and that the logistical scheme down there has been inadequate. both things can be true. do you accept that? >> i don't accept that we're doing anything short of everything we can do. yes, i accept that the people will see at the very end the last person and in the most hardests will receive assistance less than they would like.
i see a full throated response and bringing that territory back to its full functional state. >> it's not the last person in the furthest outreach. you go 25 minutes outside of san juan, you get a different reality. that's the truth of the situation. it's not exaggerated. it's not hyped. it's not unfair. it's not noncontemporaneous, it's the reality on the ground. there's far too many people in a state of desperation. that's just the fact. would you differ with that? >> no. the slightly argumentative tone i'm taking here is earlier today, probably 6:20 you said to our colonel on the field, no one doubts our efforts and commitment, and his efforts and commitment, he is there because of president trump. >> no, i'll say it again. the corps of engineers are good men and women. we know they're working their
asses off. twlats they that's what they do every time out. there's no question that there's a level of commitment. the question is has it been there from jump. the question was slow with his response. i'm not saying fema wasn't there, brock long wasn't locked in. general honore has no reason to say things were screwed up on the ground. we know the kind of guy he is. criticism of the logistics, things needing to be done better, echoed by the extra manpower and military you put in place is the reality. it's not about shooting down the white house and building up the corps of engineers. it's about a balanced reality. >> i don't think so. i think the criticism yesterday from you and your network wasn't well placed. i think president trump put forces in place before the storm. not slow to respond after it we
had a four-star admiral. yesterday you were focusing on three-star general. we had more people in place for this storm than we had for the last one. to your point i concede it's a difficult situation in an island involved in a major hurricane to bring in all those supplies and successfully distribute them. that's the governor's distink shuch distinction. he's in receive mode of millions of gallons of water, food, now he's running into closed roads, downed power lines and other forces of destructive nature. you've seen this. there was a comparison to a war zone you heard earlier. you're seeing a collective unified effort of all levels of government overcoming that challenge. >> there's no question the effort is there. it's about was it there from jump? you can see it as criticism of the president. that's not the intention.
it's about delivering help to the people in need. that's all that matters here. we can have these other debates later on. in terms of this is the media, misplaced criticism. general honoroe is not a reporter. he knows the field, knows logistics, knows what it takes. he's been critical. what do you say to him. >> i've known the general honore since i served with him in the katrina response. i talked to him yesterday. he's observing the same logistical challenges. he was wrong on his assessment that we didn't have a three-star general command in charge or in place in time. that's an assessment based on his experiences in ka treen fa whika traeina, which this government has fixed since then. we have a military command structure in place that we either base out of ft. sam
houston or off the island. we were afloat with men and women here to help. we can debate it later, i want to make sure you know today brock long is committed to this response. i'm committed to this response. between the two of us we have homelandsecuritsecurity, fema h in the right direction. >> i have no doubt brock long is committed. that doesn't mean that the president waiting a week to respond is unfair. why did you have to change the things on the ground? because it's inadequate. you can see it as criticism. i see it as an adjustment of reality. >> i see your assessment as wrong. >> where is it wrong. >> what we do is we have to adjust -- i guess i'll back up. every disaster is different. let me walk you through the brief history. we responded to the disaster in
texas with the affordable and reasonable access tow trucks, restoration crews and so forth that bring the continental contiguous united states. we responded to florida differently. we had to mobilize a naval and marine force because we had to bring fuel into that disaster. that was a constraint. now we're dealing with an island over 1100 miles away from the closest see and ports in florida. we have to adjust to the circumstances on the ground. we didn't adjust because we were wrong or poor in planning. we adjusted because the decisions warranted. >> we'll see what lessons are learned coming out of it. again, the important thing is taking care of the people we see in distress. i don't think it requires an apology to say it's not time to congratulate ourself force an effort when you have 1.5 million people with no access to clean water. just in response to what the president is seeming to imply about this. nobody is questioning your efforts. we appreciate them. you please let us know what we can do to assist you in your
efforts to get the information out to help the recovery. >> thank you very much. our prayers and our thoughts and efforts today are with the men and women of puerto rico. >> absolutely. >> chris, as you and tom boss wrer discussing a three-star general is on the ground in puerto rico to take the lead on military operations in this relief effort. so joining us on the phone is that general, jeffrey buchanan. good morning. >> good morning. how are you? >> i'll well. gre i'm well. thank you for taking the time to be with us. i don't know if you heard that interview with the homeland security director, about what day would have been best for you to arrive. you arrived yesterday. should you have been on the ground earlier. >> we had part of our team on the ground starting on the 4th of september in preparation for irma. they've been here ever since. the right answer is from a u.s. northern command perspective, general robinson this was
dominantly in the beginning a maritime response. so we had joint force maritime component command led by admiral davidson and rear admiral hughes off the coast providing that support. we in the land component provided support to texas for harvey and florida for irma. now that we're going to a dominatedly land-based operation, general robinson made the decision to switch to a land-based operation. >> i understand. look, the question is only because it's nine days after the hurricane. so we just keep hearing reports and seeing them are our owith o eyes of people december plspera desperate for water and food, supply containers stuck at the port. would it have helped if you, a land-based general were there
earlier? >> i think we had exactly the right support. the problem from the beginning with the maritime based approach, and admiral hughes and his team have been doing phenomenal work. the problem is we had all kinds of massive damage to the island's infrastructure including routes. so much of our support has been from off the shore, based off of navy ships as well as air force air component. so navy, marine force, marine corps and army helicopters delivering supply. just talking to the name regional administrator, there are a lot of containers at the ports. the fema containers that have come in prior to the storm and after the storm are actually up and moving. a lot of those are commercial contracts. we still need them to get moved. but that's really dependent on a lot of what's going on here.
as far as civil yians working i puerto rico. >> we understand there's somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000 containers. these are every-day supplies. food, water. not fema. these are the things that the island needs on a regular bday o function. can you get these moving today? >> we work in direct support of fema. if depends on what the -- what are in those containerers. the things like food, water, fuel, those are desperately needed by the people. that's where the priority is to move. a lot of those containers are just regular commercial goods, tvs. things like this. so it's not our priority, it's not fema's priority to move those. we work to help fema which is all in direct support of the common wealth. we're working together as a team to help the people get back together on their feet. >> now that you've seen this and are on the ground, do you think the 10,000 federal responders that are there are enough? >> we're certainly bringing in
more. for example on the military side we're bringing in both air force, navy, and army medical capabilities in addition to more aircraft, rotary wing aircraft, helicopters of different types, a lot of logistical support. the answer is no, it's not enough. we're bringing more in. >> when will those arrive? >> more aircraft arrives tonight. the medical capability depending on the service arrives over the next two weeks. it starts as early as this week, and stretches over the next two weeks. >> one of these is as large -- we have navy ship comfort coming. we have an army combat support hospital which is about a mobile tent based power generated 44-bed hospital. so it's all coming. it's just going to take time to build up. >> i mean, general, back to the
original point, the navy ship comfort, could that have been in place seven days ago? could that have been in place sooner? i'm only asking because we hear from so many people who say they're desperate for medication and help. >> right. and we have been providing a lot of medical support. we knows there more needed. >> so shouldn't it have been there days earlier? >> ma'am, i'm not going to judge anything. i think that we're here now, we're working forward to help the people get what they need. >> general, how long do you think this rebuilding effort will take? >> well, as far as the complete recovery and/or fema's lead, this is a very, very long duration mission. think about it from the army corps of engineers which has been asked to take leads for power distribution. on the electrical grid, you know, we are doing fine probably with power generation, though generators and power plants need
fuel. but the problem is the entire infrastructure as far as transmission of power is down. so, it's not -- it's not going to be a short-term project to e rebuild all those ledge cal linelectrical lines. we'll be here as long as we need to to get those people back up on their feet. >> thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. >> thanks. so, you keep hearing this theme of there's tremendous need on the ground. that drives an urgency for more in terms of response. dr. sanjay gupta is live in san juan. he's seeing the medical need firsthand. you've heard those interviews. you heard from the general just kind of a -- not so much a defense, but an explanation of the efforts on the ground and also the challenges. from the political side, there's no question that the president
wants approval and acceptance and praise for what he's done so far. he doesn't want the blame. whatever is being done clearly is not enough. what do your eyes tell you? >> it's interesting. i think in some ways i would say that the -- so much of the force of the relief effort was on getting some of these goods to puerto rico which is understandable. you need to get things on the ground here, medications, antibiotics, pain medications, but also fuel, s.a.t. phones, all those things that are needed after a disaster like this. i think what has happened is that after it arrived, it didn't go anywhere. from a medical standpoint the analogy is you created a good treatment. that should be applauded that should be celebrated. but the people who needed the treatment didn't get it what have you accomplished? that's what i thought as i was listening to those interviews.
it's something i saw as went outside of san juan to visit places last night. >> reporter: this is 62 josaphina's reality. look what happened to us. nobody is taking care of us. for two weeks she's been here, in a shelter. an hour outside of san juan, but may be on a different island altogether. like thousands of others, she's become sick. >> we have no hospital to get her because all the emergency rooms are closed. they have no electricity. we have no place to get her. she's getting more complicated. >> reporter: dr. morales a volunteer at shelter tried everything to get alvarez to a hospital. >> the ambulance you saw just left. no patients. >> they have no authorization
from their bosses-- >> seem ras rithat seems ridicu. we're in the middle of a crisis you're waiting >> probably a few hours of antibiotics and then she can go home. >> what happens if she doesn't get this? >> she could get a infection to the blood, probably sepsis, and even death. >> we give her our satellite phone to call for help. puerto rico's secretary of health finds a hospital for her, but then the problem, how to get her there? >> i'm a doctor, we could take the patient herself. >> he already accept the patient. >> we can do that.
>> i can't believe what is happening here. there's no power. there's no water. she's diabetic, and no insulin, and no ambulance will take her to the hospital. that's what is happening here. >> it's okay. right here. >> she wants to sit from this side. can you move the wheelchair up, please. nothing here makes sense. look what we are doing here. we are transporting a patient. it's not an ambulance, but it's what we have to get her to the care she needs. thousands of patients are in similar shelters, no power, no water, no medications and no way
out, and there are thousands still in their homes that have not been able to get to a shelter. it's just one example. we are just trying to get her into the triage. >> thank you. >> and we understand she is still in this disaster management assistance team at the present time and that's part of hhs, health and human services, and she's scheduled to have surgery, and she is going to get treatment and therapy but there could be many more out there in shelters and in their home still that need this exact sort of therapy. >> sanjay, you just happened to find this one woman and you happened to have the resources and skill to help.
this is just one story. there are 3.5 million people in puerto rico. when we hear the death toll and how low it has been, 16, i think, something like that at the last count, it's very -- it's very concerning about what is going to happen in the next days if there are other people in that predicament, sanjay. >> reporter: one thing, alisyn, i point out, we measure death tolls because they are easy to measure, and it's not like that in real life. there can be countless people who are suffering, who may be alive but they are caught in between life and death in some way, and there are lives are forever changed. it doesn't end for them. i think that death toll number is something we should pay attention to. when people talk about
humanitarian crisis, that is not a term that should be used lightly. what it means is people die who did not need to, and peoples' deaths could have been prevented, they didn't die of the hurricane directly, but the aftermath and that's sad. >> you have to stay on it to know it. sanjay has lived a life in the media of doing this, and it's not now, but a week, a month, six months from now where they need help. >> thank you for what they do. we have more on what is going on in puerto rico, but first police officers, we all know they go beyond the call of duty. how ditching their uniforms is helping them battle the opioid crisis. that's next. kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin
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first lady leading her first roundtable discussion, the issue is the opioid crisis in america. >> ohio is one of the states hit hardest by the opioid crisis and now sheriff deputies there are trying an innovative idea. going beyond the duty. >> reporter: charles johnson hung up this uniform for this uniform because of the opioid epidemic. as a deputy sheriff in lucas county, ohio, it's his job to visit overdosers in the hospital and try to save them. you are not there to arrest them? >> no. >> what are you there to convince them to do? >> to live.
>> do you think it makes a difference to see you in a coat and tie or in a uniform? >> absolutely. if you go in a uniform, you can offer all the help in the world and they will shut you down. they will shoot it up right here. >> on this day, johnson gets a call to visit this woman in a toledo hospital room. she's a waitress in a local restaurant. >> her and i made an agreement. >> i showed up and you gave me an opportunity. >> reporter: johnson and his team have convinced 80% of overdose survivors to go into detox. an impressive number. you stick around in their lives? >> i know their families and i
stop and visit them in their homes and jails. i meet -- i am like a parent to 100 a addicts. >> he had faith in me and he had known me for ten minutes. he was staying in touch and making sure i was doing the right thing. you working today? yeah, i'm working. that's what i like to hear, you know. >> my phone never stops ringing. people are calling me 24 hours a day. i won't not answer that phone because somebody's life could depend on it. >> it's making a difference in the overwhelming addiction epidemic. >> good for them for their efforts. boy, the need is so great on that issue. we will be covering it for a long time. in fact, we are following a lot of