The Chill Factor

“Every mile is two in winter.” George Herbert

The coldest I have ever been has always been while I am working. Bitter cold and wind chills bottoming out at 30 below make it almost impossible to do law enforcement work. I can remember trying to do field sobriety tests on a drunk driver and not being able to feel my finger after waving it in front of his eyes for 15 seconds. And then there was the drunk driver who drove through a field at 2:45 in the morning and got stuck near the proximity of the state prison in our county. A prison guard reported it to the sheriff’s department when I was 5 minutes from going off duty. After handling that call I blasted the heater as I drove home, but still could not feel my toes. After crawling into bed I nearly sent my wife into cardiac arrest after curling up next to her.

The coldest I have ever been, however; was trying to track down a suicidal male on a frigid January night. He and a few other friends were returning from a snowmobile trip in northern Minnesota. They stopped at a gas station and one of the gentleman thought it was the right time to pull out a knife and threaten his friends and then threaten to kill himself. He then took off  at a 100 yard dash speed from the gas station.

When we arrived at the gas station we began gathering the facts about what had happened. We then began tracking this male’s footprints through the snow. For a while they paralleled the interstate, then began meandering through wooded and residential areas. In some places the snow was up to our waists. Fingers began tingling and the toes quickly followed in kind. The sharp tingling eventually gave way to merciful numbness.

During this track a friend of his, against our directive, off-loaded his snowmobile and began looking for him. He created some damage to people’s yards as he weaved in and out of driveways, parked vehicles, trees and streets. After a three miles track we located the suicidal male hiding in a ditch and had arrested his friend for obstruction. The former went to the hospital and the latter went to jail.

I found out later that my partner had gotten into his squad car with his winter cap still on. The sweat from his forehead quickly froze, causing his hat to freeze to his head. He didn’t have time to give it too much thought because he was quickly on his way to deal with another suicidal person who had a gun.

Cops work in inclement weather along with many other professions. It is still better than a cubicle, in my opinion.




About justicetheline

Above all I am a Christian Hedonist pursuing my ultimate satisfaction and joy in God. This blog contains postings about what God is teaching me through his Word, is an outlet for some of my photography, and will occasionally include stories about my experiences as a deputy sheriff on patrol. View all posts by justicetheline

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