Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold weather brings...

The weather has been dreary the last few days. Rain, mist, more rain, and cold winds makes most people feel lousy. Just getting out of bed is a chore. This is typical big city October weather. The worse of it is that it doesn't get any much better. Oh, there are a few decent sunny days around the Thanksgiving holiday but that's it. Once the bad weather starts there's no relief until next May.

The general rule for police officers has always been "A good officer never gets wet, cold, or hungry!" There are always exceptions to any rule.

A few years ago, before civilians took over intersection traffic control duties, junior officers were detailed to the stadium for sports events. Football and soccer games are played in any weather short of tornados or hurricanes. These fans are insane. They come out in the most horrible weather instead of watching the game in the comfort of their home or favorite tavern. Young coppers had to stand in the rain, sleet, and snow directing the flow of traffic out of the arena parking lots. It was impossible to stay dry and warm with sleet blowing in your face for an hour. The best masks, gloves, and scarves available in those days didn't last very long.

The big city is socked with huge blizzards almost every winter. The pattern is the same every storm. Piles of deep drifting snow then a plunge into deep freezing temperatures immediately after the sky clears. This cold can reach arctic like conditions, often as low as -25 degrees. A cold so bitter that car motors and people both freeze up solid. Morning sometimes finds cars stranded on the roads and homeless people frozen where they tried to find shelter. Not everyone seeks out the city's help.

The extremely cold weather does chase the criminals off the street. After a day or so, the cabin fever kicks in and the indoor disturbances start. Coppers often have to park the patrol car on the main street and walk to the location of the job through the snow. The problems are often resolved while standing around the lit stove. Everyone, including the officers, warm their hands over the lit burners. Not many people are put out on those frigid nights. The combatants, unless they go to jail, are usually willing to wait for a warmer day to resume the hate.

In between assignments, officers return to the station to run their personal cars for twenty minutes in order to be able to drive home after the tour is over.

Winter in the big city is when police work is the most challenging. It's not easy getting motivated when the sidewalk and driveway has to be cleared of a foot of snow just to get to the street. A running start is then necessary to make it off the side road to the main street. If the main street has been plowed, an officer might make it to work at a reasonable hour.

AHHHH life in the big city!

Winter in the big city? BLAHHHH.


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