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updated: 2/2/2011 4:30 PM

Police use snowmobiles during blizzard

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Authorities used two Round Lake Park Police Department-owned snowmobiles to handle calls involving at least 40 vehicles that slid off roadways through Wednesday afternoon.

Police Chief George Filenko said officers started working on the sleds with firefighter-paramedics from the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District before the blizzard hit Tuesday. Police and fire personnel were teamed on the snowmobiles.

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Filenko said many of the calls Tuesday and Wednesday were for vehicles that veered off Peterson and Alleghany roads. Both roads cut through wide-open areas that were prone to blowing and drifting snow.

The snowmobiles allowed officers and paramedics to quickly and easily reach those vehicles to make sure no one was inside.

"I'm not sure how many people they rescued," Filenko added.

Few suburban law-enforcement agencies have snowmobiles, said Filenko, president of the Lake County Chiefs of Police Association. Round Lake Park obtained the two sleds -- previously used by the Navy in the Arctic Circle -- for free through a U.S. military surplus program.

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