Rapid City Police Department offers warm gestures on cold days

RAPID CITY, S.D. — In last week’s bitter temperatures, Rapid City Police Department officers headed into the elements to make sure that those without warm places to stay could still stay warm.

“We do extra patrols of the bike path, places we know where there might be people that need assistance, under bridges, by stores, just places that people might get to and then get too cold and then get kind of stuck and not be able to make it to safety,” explained Officer Aaron Meyer, as he took us along for the ride in his patrol car.

Officer Meyer helps out on a chilly dayOfficer Meyer drove alongside Rapid Creek and checked every makeshift shelter, eventually finding someone in need of a helping hand. Upon request, Officer Meyer took him to Woyatan Lutheran Church for shelter. Many officers working in the downtown area offer rides to local shelters like the Woyatan Lutheran Church and Cornerstone Rescue Mission.

“We’ve got really good resources in town, the Care Campus has been really good about when its very cold outside, opening up more beds and putting out more mattresses to keep people from freezing in the elements,” Meyer adds. 

But what can we do when we see someone who looks like they may need help? Officer Meyer says, ask them! “If you’re out on foot and you’re walking by somebody you can always ask them. Some people might look cold, but they might say they’re fine and they don’t need any help, and you can always ask them if they need help and what kind of  specific help they need.”

Of course, if the assistance needed is beyond what you can provide, make a call. “If you see something like somebody having a hard time standing up, or is not able to care for themselves you can certainly give us a call,” Meyer says. “We have a community outreach team that is going out and working with people trying to get them connected with resources.”

A smile and warm gesture can go a long way on a gray and bitter day.

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