Winter mess has officers working extra hours

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The start of this week has been a long one for Eau Claire police officers as they work extra hours to assist with crashes and slide-ins.

The department has officers working more than 12-hour shifts to ensure their typical case load is covered while also responding to weather-related incidents.

Lt. Jim Southworth said, “This morning we had to hold some midnight shift people over for a couple hours. We did call in our afternoon shift in a couple hours early just so we could have staffing to be available to deal with all the different slide-ins and crashes.”

As of 4pm on Tuesday there were more than 20 vehicle assists and seven crashes but Officer David Chapin said there are plenty of incidents that don’t get officially counted as well.

“Officers will see vehicles stuck and we'll just step out and push them out and not pull a case number so the numbers they're talking about are generated; which we don't always do,” explained Chapin.

While conditions remain difficult, and are likely to get worse before getting better, the department says it's prepared to handle the up-tick in calls.

“Especially in weather like this where we're going to call to call for crashes and slid-ins and stuff like that but it's something we get used to and are able to handle it effectively,” said Chapin.

Officers continue to ask drivers to stay home if they're able and to watch out for those deep snowdrifts!

Southworth added, “If you are out make sure you give yourself plenty of time to stop be cautious and leery of different intersections and if it looks too deep to drive in don't go into it because you're probably correct, it's too deep to drive in.”