We all know that police work doesn’t stop just because the temperature has dropped, so here are a few tips to stay safe and comfortable while you’re on patrol during the winter:
Prepare your car
You never know what the weather is going to do, nor do you know what any given day may hold. Because of that, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready for whatever you throw at it. Take your tires, for example. The last thing you need is to lose traction while on patrol. Depending on what neck of the woods your division is in, you may need to carry tire chains in your car during the winter. These attach to your wheel in order to give your tires more traction. You may also consider studded tires or those specifically designed for winter driving.
Then, there’s your battery. We all know that winter is the time that your car has the most trouble starting because the cold weather keeps your engine from turning over or kills the battery. Interestingly, however, the frigid temperatures are usually not actually draining the battery itself. Instead, it’s preventing a chemical reaction from occurring that discharges the power. Because of this, swapping out the battery in your car for the spare one in your trunk isn’t going to help at all. Instead, what you have to do is keep the area from getting too cold in the first place. There are battery blankets available that will help you accomplish this.
Keep yourself warm
As a police officer, it can be tough to know how insulated you’ll have to keep yourself during the bitter winter months. If you’re outside directing traffic in 20-degree weather, you’ll definitely need to layer up. However, you don’t want to wear so much clothing that you overheat once you get back to the station or to your patrol car. Layers are going to be your best bet, as you will be able to adjust your clothing depending on what your situation requires. Consider making an investment in a good pair of thermal long underwear or socks – the higher end products are usually worth the extra cost. Be sure to always avoid cotton, especially if there is snow, slush or rain in your future. Once cotton gets wet, it stays wet. If you’ve ever had to spend the day in wet socks, you know how unpleasant it can be. Always make sure you have extra socks and other layers handy – you never know when you’ll have to don or shed layers to keep yourself comfortable.
Always remember weapons safety
Don’t let the cold weather be an excuse for not keeping your weapons secured at all times. There’s a good chance you’ll have some extra stuff to lug around in your patrol car during the day, whether it’s those snow chains or rock salt or extra blankets. This makes winter an important time to get your police gear organized. Keeping a lockable storage box in your car, for example, can not only keep everything secure, but can also help you stay organized so you can access whatever you need quickly and easily.