Inside Bangor PD’s welfare checks during dangerous cold

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 11:14 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - With frostbite setting in under 10 minutes, Bangor Police are making sure that those who are outside have somewhere warm to go.

I bundled up with half a dozen layers and rode along to see how officers are helping the people who often don’t have the necessary protection from the bitter cold.

“If you don’t want to be outside, you don’t have to be outside,” Bangor Police Department Sergeant Jason McAmbley said. “We will provide a safe, warm place for you to stay. It’s just getting colder by the minute here, literally.”

The first stop on my welfare check ride-along with Bangor Police Department Sergeant Jason McAmbley, the City’s Homeless Outreach Coordinator and social workers from the Bangor Community Action Team took us to the former encampment beneath I-395 along the train tracks.

Those formerly living in the tent had found shelter, the outcome the team was hoping for.

“We’re going to find who’s got the space,” McAmbley said. “They have options, which is really nice. We’ll give them a ride.

“If their pets need to go inside, we’ll take them out to the Humane Society and drop them off, and we’ll take them back there Monday morning to pick them up.

“Some of the places have hot showers, they’ve got clothes, they’ve got blankets, they’ve got food, they’ve got some entertainment.

“If you’ve got a problem with law enforcement right now, we don’t care. We want to make sure that you’re inside and you’re safe today. We’ll worry about the other stuff later when the weather’s better.”

The team’s next call was at Bangor International Airport for a mental health emergency.

Respecting the situation, this is where I stopped filming. After transporting the person to the hospital, it’s back to welfare checks in the cold for McAmbley’s team.

“We’re going to go start checking the campsites where we were yesterday to make sure that people that are out there - number one, are they still there, and number two, do they still want to stay there?” McAmbley said. “If they need a ride, we’re going to get them in the car, we’re going to get them someplace warm.”