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Home  >  Topics  >  Patrol Issues

February 10, 2010
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Md. cops do their job 'by hook or by crook' during blizzard

'They knew they had to do their jobs'

Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — One Baltimore officer hitchhiked, jumping into an Army Humvee and then a civilian police car to tag-team his way from his Edgewood home to the city's Central District station. Motorcycle cops traded two wheels for four - four-wheel drive, that is - to keep an eye on businesses along Calvert, Charles and St. Paul streets.

Homicide detectives responded to two killings and four questionable deaths by riding shotgun in tactical vehicles. The commander of the Central District, Maj. Dennis Smith, pulled an elderly woman from a snowbank on Holabird Avenue on his way to shovel out his own family in Baltimore County.

Expert Perspective

This report is a great testament to the spirit of truly dedicated and motivated law enforcement personnel. Regardless of the challenges the officers in these snow blasted areas are facing, they're living by a powerful adage taught for years in the Street Survival Seminar: IMPROVISE, ADAPT and OVERCOME!

As you watch the coverage of these catastrophic weather events, take notes. The lessons learned by the officers in these areas and the creative tactics and techniques they use to overcome obstacles may come in useful for you should a related catastrophe hit your area.

Think about things like transportation challenges — how are you going to get to where you need to be if your "normal" mode(s) of transportation are no longer available. How about family preparation — given the circumstances, these officers are forced to spend long amounts of time away from their homes and families and they aren't able to be there to help. Have you crafted a plan with your family about what they should do, where they should go and who they should call for assistance should catastrophe hit and you're not there to help?

Read more: Using creative tactics to overcome obstacles

There are stories like this all over the city and state - snowplow drivers, firefighters, doctors, to name just a few - who left their families to stay on the job and help the city through the blizzard, or who made extraordinary efforts to get to their jobs while everyone around them was trapped.

And they might do it all over again tonight and tomorrow, when even more snow is predicted. Some police officers in the Central slept across desks or leaned in office chairs pushed against walls, grabbing a few hours of shut-eye before returning to patrol the downtown business district, neighborhoods such as Mount Vernon and Belvedere, and the Pennsylvania Avenue strip.

Police ended up with more people at work in the snowstorm than on a warm summer evening. A typical shift at the Central has two supervisors and 20 patrol officers. Friday night through the height of the storm Saturday evening, the district had four supervisors and 38 on patrol.

"Every one of them," Smith said of the officers under his command, "they all knew they had to get here. They got up and they got going, and they got in. A lot of them knew they weren't going to see their families but they knew they had to do their jobs."

Read full story: Police officers knew 'they had to do their jobs'

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