NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 19, 2013

Braving the heat

Police officers find relief in kindness of passing motorists

As a seemingly endless heat wave continues to blanket the region with temperatures past 90 degrees, the daily routines of thousands of people are tested.

For those lucky enough to stay indoors, air conditioners, fans and an endless supply of liquids are available.

But for many, be they letter carriers, construction crews, landscapers, police officers or firefighters, there is no choice but to brave the heat, look for shade where you can find it and bring along as much water as you can.

Among those endeavoring to stay cool yesterday was a handful of police officers working construction details across the region.

In Salisbury, at the intersection of Route 286 and Pike Street, officers James Pollard and Michael Alder were directing traffic as a road crew placed a layer of hot top over the busy stretch of road. Fortunately for the two officers, the area was sprinkled with large shade trees, allowing them a respite from the sun’s powerful rays, an opportunity not available to the work crew laying down the steaming road surface.

“These guys, I don’t know how they do it,” Alder said.

Alder and Pollard said they began their shift at 7 a.m. and were expected to be there until 3 p.m. or whenever the work crew called it quits for the day. Eventually, the intersection will feature state-of-the-art traffic lights allowing for improved traffic flow and reducing the chances of collisions.

In addition to shade trees and lighter clothes, the Salisbury officers benefited from the kindness of strangers or, in this case, passing motorists. During the day, drivers with a heart would stop by the officers and hand them bottled water and coffee.

“We appreciate that — keep them coming,” Alder said.

Compared to officers in other departments, Salisbury officers have the option of wearing lighter patrol duty uniforms and baseball caps thanks to a recent relaxing of uniform requirements by Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler. The bright yellow patrol duty uniforms, also worn by bicycle patrol officers, is made of lighter, tighter-fitting fabric.

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