Local police detail response calls during subzero temperatures

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 5, 2019


FERNDALE/BERKLEY — Subzero temperatures at the end of January, the worst of which hit Jan. 30-31, when the low was measured at 13 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service, resulted in not many, but some weather-related incidents for local police.

    Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown said the department had a small uptick in calls for service because of the cold weather from Monday to Friday last week.

“One phenomenon that occurs is that with all the snowplowing, it sets alarms off at businesses and houses,” he said. “We probably get several more alarms than normal. Piles of snow up against the wall, and it’ll hit a window and set off the window-break alarm, and nobody knows, so we got to go out and check it out.”

Along with the snowplowing, Brown said 110 people received snow emergency tickets because they didn’t move their vehicles from the street.

Brown said police also responded to a call of a dog that was left out in the cold, complaints that companies were plowing snow into the roadway, which is illegal, and reports of eight vehicle breakdowns.

“Because of the cold, we went the extra mile on a couple of occasions just to make sure people were safe by dropping them off somewhere or letting them sit in our car while they waited for a tow truck,” he said.

There were five incidents that required medical attention. All were believed to have been caused by the weather, Brown said, as some had shortness of breath or were injured in a slip-and-fall.

“Someone called and reported they had frostbite because they were out too long,” he said. “They were transported to the hospital.”

Berkley Public Safety Department Detective Lt. Andrew Hadfield said the department didn’t have many incidents to respond to because of the weather, though it did receive a call Jan. 31 to help jump-start a vehicle, and to check on a home because a dog was left outside in the cold for more than an hour.

“They checked on it. The dog was inside when the officers got there and it was healthy and fine,” he said.

Hadfield said he wasn’t surprised at the low number of response calls during the weather, because people knew that they should have been inside.

“Usually we get numerous animal complaints with the cold weather, checking on people that are out walking in the cold weather or vehicles getting stranded,” he said. “It seemed pretty minimal, but I think with subzero temperatures, it kept people inside and people were very well aware of how dangerous it was in that cold.”

Brown agreed, saying that although he’d have loved to get zero calls, people were conscious of the cold weather and generally took precautions. 

“People took heed of all the warnings and dressed appropriately and tempered the physical activity outside appropriately, which led to us having fewer than normal or fewer than we had expected,” he said.

Call Staff Writer Mike Koury at (586) 498-1077.