Police chief's monthly column—information on snow emergencies.

With all the snow on the ground, and more coming, I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone about the city’s snow removal ordinances and why we at the Police Department handles it like we do.

The city of Sleepy Eye does declare snow emergencies. The best way to find out when a snow emergency is declared is to join Nixle. Nixle is the Sleepy Eye Police Department’s mass communication tool. It is free to use, other than any fee you get for receiving text messages from your provider. We use the service sparingly so we don’t bother people with needless messages every week. Every snow emergency is put out on Nixle. To join, all need to do is text our zip code “56085” to 888777. This will auto enroll you into text notifications. Online, you can enroll an email address as well.

Once a snow emergency is declared all vehicles must be removed from the downtown area by midnight. For the first two snow emergencies this year our officers attempted to find the registered owners to tell them to move their vehicles if they were downtown; this will not be done anymore.

Vehicles left downtown during a declared snow emergency will be ticketed and towed. Our snow parking ticket is 25 dollars, and doubles to 50 dollars if it is not paid within three days. The Sleepy Eye downtown area needs to be cleaned up for the businesses, and it is tough to clean around parked vehicles. It slows the process down. Please move your vehicles early if a snow emergency it declared.

Once the downtown areas have been cleared, the crews then move on to the rest of town to get that plowed. Once a snow emergency is declared all vehicles parked on any street need to be moved to an already plowed section after 24 hours. By plowed section we mean a cleared off section of road that is not blocking the plows from cleaning any unplowed section. If you move your vehicle ahead just in front of the unplowed section you were in, and don’t leave enough room for the plow to clean, then you are still in violation of the ordinance. Any vehicle in an unplowed section is subject to a snow parking ticket. At this time, once a vehicle is cited for two snow parking tickets, without an attempt to move, it is towed at the owner’s expense. Please be aware—if sections of streets are not cleaned by the plows, the snow builds up throughout the winter and causes issues for other areas and properties. If there is a significant snow just plan on moving your vehicle once the plows go around. If anyone has questions about this process please call me at the police department, 794-3711, and I will be happy to come to your residence and speak with you about this.