Just Part of the Job
Years ago, while publishing The Telegram in Franklin, I was always trying to come up with new ideas for stories and story series. One idea was the creation of a News Café; another was to run a series of stories under the heading “Real Cops” that would tell of the odd and funny episodes that come with the job of community policing.
Among them would be the police officer helping a beaver crossing the busy Central Street in downtown Franklin. Another might be the woman calling to report that someone was rearranging her patio furniture. Still another would be the absurd ways that people try to elude an arrest — plunging into an icy river, running across a field of poison ivy, hiding in a dog house. That sort of thing.
We did publish a few of those stories, but we found out that police officers take their jobs very seriously, and many of them are reluctant — or incapable — of sharing humor, perhaps because of the number of times they get portrayed as buffoons or incompetents in movies, beginning with the Keystone Cops. In any case, it was difficult to pry the humorous incidents from police departments and we could not sustain the column for long.
Years later, while working at the Laconia Daily Sun, I found there are officers out there who delight in telling these amusing stories. The now-retired Richard Mann of the Belmont Police Department peppered his press releases with humor, such as the time a “suspect” tried to elude the officer making an arrest by striking out into the woods. Mann said the suspect probably would have succeeded if Mann himself were chasing him, but Officer X (I don’t remember which one it was) was very fit and did physical training on a regular basis, and he was able to outrun the fugitive.
Another officer with a great sense of humor is David Suckling, the chief of police in Danbury and Alexandria. In person or on Facebook, Chief Suckling loves to tell of the funny incidents that officers encounter — and even when the incident is not funny, he finds a way of injecting humor into the story.
So we’re re-opening our “Real Cops” casebook, where we’ll post those stories about the lighter side of community policing when we encounter them, as we did today with the turtle post.