Rain drops keep falling on my head
by Jim Ruth Bradley County Sheriff
Feb 17, 2013 | 799 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print


We are having one of those wet winters that Cleveland was known for when I was a kid. It seemed we lived with a lot of those chilly, windy, rainy and oftentimes snowy days back then.

Many times during such days the Cleveland and Bradley County fire departments were called out, usually as a result of faulty heaters or fires left unattended.

The county roads are slick and water stands in some low areas in the roadway during these rainy days. When the rain first starts, the oil floats up from the road surface and becomes slippery as glass.

Back when the VW Beetle was in its heyday, the daredevil boys who owned them would find an empty parking lot or road that was still wet and wind it up in first gear and quickly disengage the clutch and pull the emergency brake. Round and round she would go, where she stopped nobody could know.

Now, I never did this because I didn’t own a VW Bug (and as they say on television, you should not do this at home — it could be hazardous to your well-being).

On rainy days, it is a good thing to turn your headlights on, not only because this makes your vehicle more visible, it is actually the law. Certainly, you should have them on as darkness approaches, instead of waiting for complete darkness, because visibility has already diminished.

Many of our newer vehicles have lights that come on automatically, when darkness comes.

One of my older gentleman readers told me to remind people to dim their lights, when it is appropriate, because bright lights sure make it hard to see.

Some folks are like the singer Eddie Rabbit, they “love a rainy night.” The rain washes away their blues and brings to that person a festive and light-hearted mindset.

Others get the blues and the longer the sun is hidden behind the rain clouds the bluer they become. Different strokes for different folks, is what makes the world go round.

The weather always affects our duties at the Sheriff’s Office. When the rains keep coming down our deputies have to be on the lookout for flooding and washed-out roadways and bridges. During these times they are also saddled with bulky raincoats to protect themselves and the equipment they carry.

When snow is in the forecast, our fleet maintenance people have to make sure that our patrol vehicles have the right tires mounted. They also make sure that the few 4x4 vehicles we have are ready to go and running properly.

In the blizzard of 1993, we had only a couple of 4x4s. It wasn’t long before patrol cars were stranded in different parts of the county. During those days our deputies used their own, private 4x4s or borrowed them from reserve deputies, friends or private companies.

Equipmentwise, we were in a very bad place as we tried to deal with extreme weather conditions. Off-duty deputies and others used horses, motorcycles (dirt bikes), 4x4s and walked to check on residents, and obtain fuel supplies for them.

The heat in the hot summer days can be hard on equipment, animals and personnel for law enforcement. A couple of years ago two German shepherd police dogs died, because of extreme heat. Both belonged to different agencies and both were in pursuit of bad guys and became dehydrated.

Other agencies have learned shutting off the air conditioners in their cars to save on gas mileage is counterproductive. This action led to greater fatigue and efficiency was lost, while it also led to some morale problems. They also found out that great health risks could be prevented by keeping the cars cool on those hot days.

We at the BCSO are always looking for the best and most efficient ways to get the job done. One way I have mentioned before is we are now purchasing vehicles that are much more fuel-efficient. When we have obtained more of these vehicles we will certainly see a big savings on fuel costs, compared to the vehicles that we have been driving for many years.

Remember that you can read these articles on www.bradleysheriff.com to catch up on any that have been missed.

Thanks for reading.