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Southern Tier

Camillus Police use snowmobiles to keep trails safe

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Camillus Police use snowmobiles to keep trails safe
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Typical police patrols are done by car, but in the Town of Camillus, each winter weekend, officers are using snowmobiles as well. Candace Hopkins shows us how police make sure the trails are fun for everyone.

CAMILLUS, N.Y. -- First comes the snow, then the snowmobilers. And right behind them is Camillus Police Officer Joseph Clabaugh, patrolling the trails around Erie Canal Park.

"We put out our sled unit when we're able to get out on the canal with the snow, we're out here for checking other snowmobilers, registrations, insurance, making sure young operators permits are being followed," said Camillus Police Officer Joseph Clabaugh.

Most weekends Officer Clabaugh and his colleagues are joined by a paramedic. Together the pair can respond to the types of calls that would be hard to reach by vehicle.

"There's a lot of active people out here and you never know if they might have a medical emergency out on the trail that we could respond to a lot quicker than a car," Clabaugh said.

Police say this trail can get very crowded with people not only snowmobiling, but also walking or cross country skiing and that's why they say while they're out on patrol one of the biggest things they're looking for is to make sure snowmobiles are following the posted speed limits.

"You're on narrow trails, or trails like this, the terrain, you can lose traction, you can lose steering. Either way, with the amount of speed you're traveling, so you have to be real careful," said Officer Clabaugh.

The goal isn't to give out tickets, but to make sure everyone has the safest experience possible.

The snowmobile unit has hit the trails for 13 years. Four Camillus officers are trained on the snowmobiles. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP