ND Highway Patrol spending Christmas Eve on the roads

Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 5:07 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - For many, the holiday season is a time of rest and relaxation with family and friends. For law enforcement agencies it’s one of the most stressful times of the year. North Dakota Highway Patrol officers spent their Christmas Eve on the roads helping to keep those headed to Grandma’s house safe.

Most of Captain Bryan Niewind’s workdays are spent behind the wheel traveling North Dakota highways and interstates. In the winter months conditions continuously change.

“When the sun is beating down on the road and the snow blows across, it sticks,” Captain Niewind explained, “People coming through here at 75 to 85 miles per hour it’s very easy for them to lose control.”

Captain Niewind made a call and asked for road conditions to be updated.

“I’m going to get DOT to change the travel map and see if they can get some plows out,” he said on the phone.

He and the 11 state troopers in the Fargo area are spending their holiday patrolling.

“If someone is broken down, we are looking for people who need assistance roadside traveling maybe to Grandma’s house,” Niewind explained.

He said one of the most challenging parts of the job is the unknown that could come from every traffic stop.

“Is the person going to be compliant? Is the person going to be upset with me? Are they under the influence? Have they just committed a crime and they are going to try and getaway? Do they have a weapon?” is what Niewind said goes through his mind each time he approaches a car.

He said by far the hardest part is responding to fatal crashes.

“Becomes even more tragic during the holiday periods,” he said, “When we have to go knock on someone’s door on Christmas eve or Christmas day and say your loved one isn’t coming home.”

Though the job is never easy, Niewind said he has a duty to serve, “I like serving the citizens of North Dakota.”

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