Rapid City Police Department patrol and look for homeless caught in the sub zero temperatures

Frozen Rapid Creek
Frozen Rapid Creek(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:46 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Weather conditions have dipped below zero, making it difficult enough for some to run to the car, or even harder for someone who works outdoors on a daily basis.

How about for someone who has to face those sub zero temperatures on a nightly basis?

That’s something the Rapid City Police Department tries to protect against.

“My prayers go extendedly with the homeless who are living on the streets,” says Lillian Gray Wind, Rapid City homeless woman, “and cold.”

“Your body can only take so much cold temperature before it shuts down,” says Captain John Olson, Field Services Division with the Rapid City Police Department.

“I almost froze to death. I lived in a storage,” says Gray Wind, “and I almost froze to death in weather like this. It was icy cold and terrible.”

“We lost a lot of people out here, man,“ says Zachariah, Rapid City homeless man man.

“It is cold out here,” adds Raymond, Rapid City homeless man.

“What our officers are doing is just to make sure someone is safe,” says Capt. Olson, “and we do not end up with an exposure death.”

Captain Olson says places like Rapid Creek, bike paths and parks are areas where people who need some help tend to congregate. It doesn’t matter how old, young or experienced you are... when the weather gets bad, it can be deadly.

“There are times when the weather gets so bad that even if you’re a veteran of being outdoors you may not make it,” says Capt. Olson. “Just because the conditions are so terrible.”

“It is cold as hell,” says Raymond.

“It’s hard to find somewhere warm for you to stay,” adds Zachariah.

What happens to you if you don’t?

“We die,” says Zachariah.

“But,” adds Raymond, “you know, we try to survive. Try to. We will.”

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