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Officers are out there for us ... day and nightPosted Wednesday, February 4, 2009, at 8:25 PM
Spent time one day writing a story about a guy who got arrested for bashing out somebody's windshield but then I found out charges were dropped so I had to chuck the story.
Charges were dropped? Dropped? What? When? Why?
It turned out there was a good reason for it, but there went my story plan for the day. Along with it, the opportunity to let the public know a little something about the work done by one police officer -- so the story is becoming this week's Viewpoint.
It just happened that someone was up at 2:45 a.m. and saw a couple of guys over on their neighbor's property. One of them was busting out the windshield on the neighbor's car so they called police.
Three minutes later, an officer arrived, checked out the scene, and went looking around for two suspects that had fled on foot. He found two standing outside a nearby convenience store, talked to them and got denials.
He then went back to the scene -- the windshield had been busted out by a kick, he found tracks in the snow and the culprits had left (as they say on NCIS) a "calling card" -- a pack of Marlboro Reds.
Of course the cigarette pack would probably have fingerprints. Although snow had fallen earlier in the evening, it had stopped and the pack was just laying there on top of the snow, not wet or dirty, so it must have come from the culprits. The officer took pictures and collected the pack of cigarettes as evidence.
Then he followed the tracks in the new-fallen snow -- straight to the two at the convenience store.
He interviewed a couple of other people on the street, the two guys, and the clerk at the convenience store.
There's a little more to the story but basically, the guy who smoked Marlboro Reds was arrested and taken to jail on a preliminary charge of criminal mischief, released on bond and scheduled to be in court.
The officer then spent time writing a report, and typing up, a three-page narrative for a probable cause affidavit -- detailing his investigation.
And then, as it turned out, the car belonged to a family member of the accused and it was going to be turned into a demolition derby car -- the windshield had to come out anyway, and the owner didn't want to press charges.
It is what it is, and it happens.
Sometimes I see or hear comments that law enforcement officers don't do enough. But things like this, and many other incidents, and much work that our officers do -- the public doesn't know about.
In this case, it was only a misdemeanor, but it took a lot of time and work on the part of the officer to answer the neighbor's call. It was something that wasn't destined to make it into the paper.
The general public just doesn't realize a lot of the things that go on, but the officers are out there every day and every night doing what we want them to be doing -- even on days when there's no juicy story in the paper.
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Anna Rochelle is editor of the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling the office at 812-847-4487.
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