Most people are well aware that in a storm, road conditions can be dangerous to travel on. But when it comes to police officers, they have to be out there.
Most issues occur outside of town on the open roads where visibility is poor. Some of the calls police respond to are drivers who drift into the softer snow on the side of the road and end up stuck, and occasional accidents.
Presque Isle Deputy Chief Laurie Kelly, “when we’re out on days like this we try to stay reactive rather than proactive, we try to kind of stay out of the way let the city get the streets cleaned.”
There’s typically less traffic during a storm. There’s also a less volume of calls and while that works in their favor, just because the calls aren’t coming, it doesn’t mean they’re not ready to respond.
Laurie Kelly, “if we don’t get there we’re no help, I mean so depending what kind of emergency we try to get there as quickly as possible but we try not to put the other traffic or ourselves at risk.”
Kelly says they typically won’t patrol or do speed radar checks in a storm. But says it’s just as important for an officer to respond to a call as it is to drive carefully in a storm to avoid becoming a part of another problem. But sometimes getting there can be a problem.
Kelly, “if it’s just down right snow fall and no wind issue it’s just the street surfaces – definitely storms that have wind factor in winter that’s an issue.”
It’s also the high snow banks that are difficult to see over that Kelly says makes things difficult. Debris and downed trees or power lines are also road obstructions that make driving in a storm, challenging.