Military and Police

Baby, It’s Cold Outside, But Chisago County Cops Stand Ready

Much of the news cycle lately has concentrated on the bone-chilling climates in the Midwest and other regions of the United States. Stories are here and there, all with chilling details. Our law enforcement brothers/sisters working for the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) in Minnesota are braving the wind-chill factor dipping to near or below zero while also paying acute attention to its jurisdiction’s residents. Compliments of the CCSO, the cover photo depicts one of the agency’s newest cruisers upon a pull-off near a lake bathed by the cadmium-yellow-hued sun. Not today. Presently, Chisago County is under ice and thick snow brought about by the attitude of Mother Nature and a rare polar vortex accompanied by cool air temps we haven’t seen in 25 years.

I’ve been poring over material from law enforcement agencies across the nation, many of which are in the span of chilled locales whose police forces are bundled and standing ready to do the job as if it were any other day–even though it is not. Mother Nature has her own playbook.

Take Chicago, for example. News outlets have been showing incredible photographs of the Windy City living up to and beyond its moniker, with statements that Chicago is currently colder than Antarctica.

One of the intriguing news stories I came across was accompanied by a, well, frigid-stiff stand-up depicting Chisago County, Minnesota sheriff’s deputies uniforms…sort of cemented in place by the sub-zero temps. Law enforcement ice sculptures, anyone? Just add a little water, Mother Nature does all the rest.

To illustrate how bone-chilling it is in many parts of the Midwest and other regions in the U.S. lately, deputies with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Department in Minnesota depicted a frigid-stiff law enforcement uniform, minus the chilled bones. (Photo credit/permissions: Sgt. Puelston/Chisago County Sheriff’s Office)

Although I grew up in New England, with its change of seasons to include some serious snowfall and icy city streets, I spent my entire police career in sunny Florida. Most of the year it is blistering hot, so my duty days were spent in an insulated, portable spa otherwise known as a ballistic vest. I didn’t enjoy it either. It was like living in a 55-gallon cask, uncannily with belting (gun belt) and all. While our law enforcement friends with the Chisago County S.O. are likely praying for additional layers of cold-weather clothing and plow-gear and a break from Mother Nature’s toll, Florida’s cops are watching such a blizzard from an environment which reached 68 degrees today. I say this not to be smug or do nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo chants and snub my nose up at any cops anywhere near chilly terrain. As one can infer from the title of this piece, it is always gratifying for citizens to know those who swear to protect and serve, walking the walk and talking the talk, are readied should they be called upon to brave a save.

Upon their Facebook page, members of the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office evince their oaths quite well when they post wholly relevant things to readers holed-up in their snowbound homes (or wherever) and reassure their constituents that climate-related issues are being mitigated.

Traffic news? Check. County infrastructure levels? Check. Law enforcement preparedness? Check. In fact, the CCSO even posted once again a few hours ago, informing residents of the following: “Area schools are closed again tomorrow for extreme cold and the inconsistent natural gas supply.

“We are right here with you. We have taken our entire Public Safety Center ‘offline’ from Xcel’s electric grid. We will be running on our back-up power to allow for more electricity on the community grid so you can continue to run things like space heaters.

“Our services will not be effected with us running on auxiliary power. We are all in this together. As always, we’re only one call away.” A law enforcement agency decided to go the extra mile on behalf of its citizens by powering down their electric supply so that those same home-bound residents can be assured of adequate heating generation. How often do we see such cold temps drop to levels whereby some folks perish from hypothermic conditions? Often enough for the CCSO deputies to know every degree counts.

In Florida, our cops endure Mother Nature’s fury in the form of hurricanes. My agency mandated all its cops pack a bag so as to live in a government building deemed hurricane-safe…until the thing blew over. In Chisago County, I suspect the deputies have a similar design, with more clothing on as well as in bags. Hurricane or blizzard, never know when it is going to peter out.

(Photo credit/permissions: Sgt. Puelston/Chisago County Sheriff’s Office)

The meteorologists are claiming roughly 70 percent of the United States populace will experience unbearably chilly temperatures. My math indicates that is somewhere close to 230 million people. Can you imagine, in some parts it is reportedly below 50 degrees. Yikes!

Incidentally, it is minutes before midnight here in Florida and it plummeted to 46 degrees. Whereas my Siberian Husky hugs the A/C in the summer, he is presently refusing to come in from the yard. I’m gonna shut my mouth now and wish my law enforcement brothers/sisters in Chisago County and elsewhere a safe and as-warm-as-possible shift…wherever they may be in our cool country.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Content Manager and Contributor. Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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