By RICH FOLEY
Once in a while, someone will ask me why the police news in the Observer is so boring. I suspect the police might agree with me that the more boring, the better, as far as crime is concerned.
I think what folks might really mean is why isn’t there anything funny in the reports. I remember the police news in the Alaskan papers we used to receive here that included the actual names of dogs caught running loose. I’m guessing that was meant to embarrass the canines in question in front of their dog friends, or at least their dog friends who could read.
It may depend on who is writing up the police reports and the amount of detail they include that determines if there are any “funny” reports to pass along. I get a copy of a daily paper from a nearby county three or four times a month and usually find a humorous police call or two among the daily police log, although they are certainly in the minority. However, I’ve collected a fair amount of amusing calls from this town I’m willing to share.
For instance, last summer, a resident complained to the police that “someone was stuffing grass in her mailbox.” Responding officers were able to get to the bottom of the problem. It turned out that the culprits were birds who were building a nest.
Another caller reported what might have resulted in tragedy except for one small point. The citizen stated that three small children were playing in a nearby pool without benefit of adult supervision. The officer handling the call was able to report that the children were all right after he found there was no water in the pool. How was the caller able to count the children, but not notice they weren’t splashing any water?
Another resident said she was being harassed by someone who kept shining a flashlight in her windows. Officers went to the residence and the “alleged perpetrator” had the nerve to do it right in front of them. However, no arrests were made because instead of someone with a flashlight, they discovered lightning was causing her complaint. I’m guessing the officers were too polite to ask if she’d never seen a thunderstorm before.
An anonymous caller reported that “a woman with a box was hiding behind a tree,” then hung up. Three weeks later, a caller wanted to talk to an officer regarding “someone hiding behind a tree and running off.” I’m still wondering about what may have happened to the box from the first complaint.
A confused property owner reported a trespasser using a deer stand on their property. After police spoke to both parties, they found that “the hunter had been given permission to be there, but the property owner had forgotten about it.”
An employee of a department store reported catching a shoplifter who had stolen a bicycle inner tube. Officers stated the suspect confessed and returned the tube. No charges were filed, but “the customer was given a good talking to,” according to the police log.
A concerned mother called 911 at 7:18 a.m. one morning to report her 15-year-old son “refused to get out of bed.” At 7:39 a.m., the responding officer reported the young man was “up and around and ready for school.” Hopefully, he was also given a good talking to.
Sometimes it pays to keep your mouth shut. A woman called police and “asked for an officer to pick her up so she could turn herself in on a federal warrant.” Officers checked with the FBI National Crime Information Center, then called back to tell her there were no outstanding warrants for her arrest. If police weren’t watching her before, they probably are now.
In what must be considered petty theft, a resident reported “his neighbor stole a cement block from his yard.” After speaking to both people involved, “the neighbor returned the block.” That officer was obviously a skilled negotiator.
Then there was a suspicious man carrying a bag who walked into the woods near the police training range. Responding officers found the suspect, who happened to be mushroom hunting. I hope he shared them with the police.
So what do you think? Funny or not? I can’t promise more entertaining police news, but maybe we can see about at least running the names of escaped dogs.