By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A scorching hot August weekend is brewing across the state, and it’s only going to get warmer.

It should break into the 90s Saturday through Monday, and those temperatures have police busy for several reasons.

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In the heat of the moment – and it was a hot one Friday afternoon — South St. Paul Police Officer Todd Waters used his warm heart to cool people off.

“Their usual response is shock and of course,” he said. “After that it’s ‘Oh my gosh, yes.’”

From the young to the young at heart, he’s been handing out freeze pops in between calls.

There were stops at construction sites where workers gladly grabbed the sweet treat, to backyards of homes where kids eagerly picked their color of choice.

“People see us out all the time,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt to come out and stop and just talk to people.”

Further north in Maplewood, Cmdr. Michael Shortreed said officers were busy for a different reason. They got two reports of dogs being left in cars in parking lots while the temperature outside reached 86 degrees.

“The research shows that within a very short amount of time, within five minutes the inside of that car turns into over 100 degrees and within a half hour it turns into about 125 degree,” Shortreed said.

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The first call was at a Costco parking lot. Shortreed said by the time an officer arrived the driver had already left.

The second call was outside Lakeshore Learning in a strip mall. He said the responding officer got there as soon as the driver approached the car.

He said the driver received a warning, however the crime is a petty misdemeanor that could carry a $25 fine.

Police also have the right to take action if the pet seems in immediate danger.

“In my 22 year career with the Maplewood Police Department, I think I’ve probably broken into four cars (for pets),” he said.

He’d much rather educate pet owners about the dangers than having to do another glass-shattering rescue.

“Even having a window cracked does nothing to cool that inside temperature down,” he said.

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In Wisconsin, the average person has the right to break into a car to save an animal so long as the car was locked and they’ve already called 911.

Jeff Wagner