Monday, July 10, 2006

Police Commission Meeting

Cathy Pullonhertoeifshehollarswatchoutforthesnake, Phil Ruse, and I are all unfashionably early, unlike Attorney Amnesia who arrives a very stylish five minutes late. Before the meeting starts, Little Napoleon, aka Papa Smurf tries making a move on Gary Fishnet in the audience. Several “Brokenback Springs” jokes occur which make me nostalgic for that short story I never finished.

Once everyone has sat down and had a few jolly homophobic laughs, well nothing happens really. Ernie Hildecrust explains that he’s waiting for the Attorney, who apparently got caught in the terrible Broken Springs traffic.

During this down time, I’m left to wonder…
Will he or won’t he? That is the question.

Will Ernie Hildecrust break to local pressure to apologize for the insulting gas on the honor system comment or will he pass on the gas issue? Only time would tell.

The meeting starts before the attorney arrives. Last meeting’s minutes are accepted (insult and all). I was surprised a retraction wasn’t requested.

The Commission received a $7,000 fuel bill from the LSD school district. Curly Headed Sandy replies that the situation was out of anyone’s control. At the risk of being struck by lightning, I must agree with Sandy. LSD privatized and Laidlow had everyone bent over, trousers down. I just hope those schmucks in St. Hoe don’t make the same privatization mistake with their custodians.

In the Chief’s Report, he makes note that the force has been busier than usual. He says as much every month and at this rate we’ll need to triple the workforce by next year, just to keep up with standard activity. Of course, it doesn’t help that everyone’s allowed to take their vacation at the same time.

In old business, Chief Kingston publicly thanks Ernie for getting gas, noting how convenient it is to have gas so close by. Ernie doesn’t take this opportunity to publicly apologize for implying last month that Kingston’s Kops might swipe company fuel for their own personal vehicles.

Rob Fishnet is in the audience, two chairs down from yours truly and I’m not sucking up or anything but he’s definitely the cutest cop we have serving and protecting. Your own Shallow Throat knows Fishnet’s parents as well, and let it be said that he might be one of the good ones.

What follows is about an hour’s worth of very boring policy discussion. The attorney had drafted up three policies: Unexpected Expenses, Travel and Education Expenses, and a Donation Policy.

I admit for the majority of the discussion I was busy trying to read Stan Chaddwick’s newspaper over his shoulder, but I did pick up on a couple notable tidbits:

As a culture, we’re too hooked on Walmart and Sam’s Club.
Jan Chaddwick loves (loves loves) Mapquest.
Broken Springs Teacher’s Credit Union is having a hot dog fundraiser on the 14th.
And the Commission is scared to death to bring up tasers in any way, shape, or form.

Concerning the Donation Policy, most everyone agrees that to accept a donation for tanks would be a bad idea. In fact, it’s unacceptable to accept a donation for any item that isn’t already pre-approved by the commission (read: Tasers a year and a half ago). Nobody, except for Heath Ledger in the audience, dares mention tasers because they know doing so a month before the millage election would be tasing themselves in the foot. (Note to Mr. Ledger: the Taser money went to computers.)

Note to self: Tear up $50 check for elevator shoes.

The question raised on the donated money issue goes something like, “Is it better to accept donations, then figure out if it can be used, or vice versa?” Kingston has an interesting philosophy on the taking of solicited cash. He said, “It’s always wiser to grab the money.” Given his reputation for toting around cash filled briefcases, this quote should come as no surprise to anyone.

Mayor Jan Chaddwick seems to think that if an officer receiving donations tells the donator that he’ll bring the issue to the Chief (who in turn brings it to the Commission) people would be more likely to donate than if the officer says he will bring it straight to the Commission. Personally, unless the donation is for scratch off tickets from Speedway, I’d argue the opposite. But that’s just me.

For homework, Professor Hildecrust assigns reading over these three policy issues in order to discuss them more next month.

In new business, Jim Kingston thanks the Commission for sending him on a good conference about tobacco smuggling, employee discipline, and terrorism. Kingston doesn’t offer any evidence that he learned anything from this conference but he wanted everyone to know he had a good time. I didn’t even know they held police conferences in Atlantic City.

July 4th went well, and the cops directing traffic before and after the 30 minute parade did a particularly splendid job. We’re also pleased to report that the fireworks caused no major damage to the barn they mistakenly set on fire. But Mr. Tinkler’s horses are now all bald.

There have been several unsolved cases of vandalism by local kids (with nothing better to do) in the Kripple, Crass, and Pitchfork road area. Car windows have been busted, cars have been keyed, and valuable items have been stolen from the backseats of vehicles parked around the area. Not since the mass virginity theft of the 60s have there been so many backseat crimes in Broken Springs. Ernie Hildecrust just hopes that the kids get what they have coming and once caught they won’t get off.

On a related note, a Broken Springs resident requested the help of officers in the removal of a two foot snake from his house. Since the snake was not a buffalo, the Broken Springs cops decided to spare its life. Love Greek Nature Center took in the slithery suspect and learned that he too was just a juvenile, and an endangered juvy at that. It was a baby rat snake whose parents are known to reach 6-7 feet in length. So beware, all of you Fluff area residents. Don’t ask to borrow your neighbor’s new water hose.

At this time I’d like to personally thank the Broken Springs Police for not shooting the snake.

Happy five year anniversary to Officer Tweed. You’ve got the fabric of a fine officer, unlike that Officer Nylon. He’s so cold and impersonal.

Now the fun begins…

With boring policy, conference, and snake discussions out of the way, the Commission can now turn their attention to Sue Frettin’s presentation on the Auto Mark machine, a $6,700 glorified printer that helps enable handicapped people to vote. After demonstrating how the unit works, she invites the entire commission to use it during the next election.

Then she takes the opportunity to go over Election Law 101, which includes such rules as:

Once the polls open, no squad car or officer can come within 100 feet of a poling precinct. The obvious exceptions are if there is a crime being committed or if an on duty officer is casting his vote.

Also, she discourages the cops from stopping to converse with demonstrators. No police radios should be used and generally no use of public funded items can be used to tell or intimidate people on how to vote. Kingston takes issue with this rule, insisting that it’s the cops job to check out the demonstrators to see if anything is going on. Frettin disagrees and says there’s no cause for the officers to stop and if there is cause, the cops will be requested. Kingston wisely, perhaps because he knows he’s wrong, lets the issue rests as he turns a colorful shade of purple for the rest of the meeting. The smoke from his ears nearly sets off the fire alarm.

After the meeting, he’s still irate enough to approach the other editor in the room and insist that Frettin’ has no right to tell him officers can’t stop and talk to demonstrators. Is it healthy for a Chief of Police to have such contempt for the rule of law, even if it is only election law? Is democracy that much of an inconvenience? I apologize for not lightening the mood with a joke but some things are no laughing matter.

The Hero of the Night is Sue Frettin. Rock on and stick to your guns, girl!

1 comment:

Linda M. said...

I checked....You didn't finsih that short story....Let's hear it.