OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- They dedicate their lives to protect and serve others. But there are times when they also need to look out for themselves. One of those times is now when triple digit heat is making many people sick. Police officers are no exception.
Overland Park Police are now policing themselves. The heat has taken down two officers and a third got lucky. All of them are okay, but it served as a wake up call.
"We had to step up and watch out for ourselves," said Ofcr. Michelle Koos with OPPD.
The blazing heat can sneak up on anyone at anytime and it doesn't discriminate.
"A lot of what we do is based on what mother nature throws at us, if it's cold outside we're working in the cold , if it's hot outside we are working in the heat," said Ofcr. Koos.
Recently, the heat caught the police chief's attention. Now sergeants carry water and everyone is on the lookout.
"In cases where they notice an officer may be affected by the heat they're trying to get that person rotated out of that assignment for that moment and give them a chance to bring their core body temperature back down," said
Officers equipment is a major factor that can add to the risk of heat related illnesses. A bullet proof vest and gunbelt pack on an average of 25 to 30 pounds. The added weight makes a difference every second that the officers are in the heat. They are outside more than you may think.
"If we're needing to set up a perimeter on something, we're going to be outside in it, working an accident, we're going to be outside in it," she said. "We tend to forget when we are out there working in these elements we need to take care of ourselves as well because our attention is too that person that needs help at that moment."
The dark uniform and combat boots can also be heat magnets for cops as well.