On Thursday night, Hartford police officers were sweeping through the capital city to get homeless men and women out of the elements.
The biggest challenge Hartford police officers have during cold snaps is tracking down the homeless and offering them help.
It is not an easy task but they take pride in protecting the most vulnerable one rescue at a time.
Thursday night, officers were scouring city streets, looking under every bridge and overpass to make sure nobody was trying to spend the night in conditions that could kill.
"It's life and death out here,” said Officer Gamaliel Perez, who has been a police officer in Hartford for 17 years.
"I was born and raised in Hartford. Every time I come out here and put on the uniform it feels like I’m giving something back to the community,” Perez said.
He admits nights like Thursday are far from fun, but they are the biggest reason he became an officer.
"It's extremely satisfying that we are able to come out here and help out the people who are less fortunate,” Perez said.
He and his partners on the cold patrol Sgt. Dan Richter and Officer Adnan Hodzic used their expertise to try and locate homeless people who may be out in the elements.
Earlier this week the team has helped some people struggling to survive and take them to shelters.
Fortunately, on Thursday night they didn’t find anyone, which makes the officers optimistic.
“Hopefully the word got spread around and people are bundled up and they are warm and safe tonight,” Perez said.
As most of us settle into warm beds, the cold patrol will stay out searching city streets. The stakes are just too high.
If you know anyone who needs a warm place to stay, contact your local police department or dial 211. You can also find a list of warming centers and shelters here.
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