Occupation: Chief of Police for Vance Township, Pennsylvania
Most people see the title “Chief of Police” and assume I spend my day in my office, supervising my officers and doing paperwork. Not true. Not in my case. We don’t have the budget or the manpower for me to have the luxury of sitting on my—um—backside all day. From 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., I’m the officer on duty. The only officer. At least Vance Township has police coverage 24 hours a day. A lot of local municipalities around here can’t claim that.
I arrive at the station about an hour early as a rule. Gives me time to make some coffee. I miss the days when Sylvia Bassi was my secretary. No matter how early I arrived, she’d already be there with a fresh pot brewed. The young woman who replaced Sylvia is competent enough, and I can count on her being here a few minutes before eight. But as for the coffee? I’m on my own. Note to the powers-that-be at Starbucks: Have you considered opening a franchise in Dillard? I’d be a regular.
Last night, Officer Seth Metzger worked the midnight shift. He rolls in from patrol about 7:30 and we sit and discuss anything I need to know about the calls he handled overnight. This morning that amounts to a report of a prowler over on Covered Bridge Road—Seth checked it out and didn’t find anything, but I’ll head over there later and talk to the neighbors—and several reports of kids driving around and bashing mailboxes up on Ridge Road. I have a sneaking suspicion who those kids are and will pay a visit to their parents first thing.
Most days life here is quiet. Oh, we have our fair share of crime, but it’s rarely anything like what I had to deal with when I worked with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. I like the slower pace, except when we do have a big case, I don’t have access to the crime lab like we had there. There’s this young hotshot Monongahela County detective who takes entirely too much pleasure in stepping in and taking over those cases, claiming to be “helping.” What makes him really maddening is—damn it—he’s good. Then again, I trained him.
By 8:30, I’m ready to head out on patrol with plans to follow up on those overnight calls. I’ll touch base with you later.
Noon. I think I solved the case of the prowler. A masked bandit. With four feet. Yeah, a raccoon was raiding trashcans making a racket and a mess. No arrest was made. As for the kids and the mailboxes? Neither the parents nor the kids were admitting to anything. But from the looks on their faces when I pointed out tampering with mailboxes constitute a federal offense, they were guilty as hell. Hopefully I scared them straight by quoting the penalties for such foolishness.
Now I’m grabbing some lunch at Parson’s Roadhouse, a not-so-well-kept secret. It’s not on the main drag, by any means, but the parking lot is always full. I admit, I had hoped Zoe would be here. Zoe Chambers. She’s a local paramedic and deputy coroner. We’re…friends. Just friends. Her idea. But considering my history with women is almost as bad as hers with men, that might be for the best. Still, a fellow can dream, can’t he?
Anyhow, she’s not here. So I eat alone.
I may not spend all my day doing paperwork, but I do have to work on some reports after lunch. Have I mentioned I hate paperwork? There have been days I’ve let someone off with a stern warning, not just because I’m a nice guy and the idiot wasn’t likely to be a repeat offender. But because I didn’t want to have to write up a report. If you repeat that, I’ll deny it.
Around 3:00 I head back out to make another pass through the township before my shift ends. As quitting time nears, it looks like a storm is brewing. Maybe I’ll get home before the clouds open up. Uh-oh. My secretary Nancy has just radioed me. Earl Kolter, Zoe’s partner on the ambulance, called in a request for police. Dead body. A hanging. Damn. Responding with lights and sirens…
And if you’re interested in what Pete finds when he responds to this call, pick up Lost Legacy, the second book in the “Zoe Chambers” mystery series, published by Henery Press, available now. The first book in the series is Circle of Influence.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 24 for the chance to win a copy of LOST LEGACY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
About the author
Annette Dashofy, a Pennsylvania farm gal born and bred, grew up with horses, cattle, and chickens. After high school, she spent five years as an EMT for the local ambulance service, giving her plenty of fodder for her Zoe Chambers mystery series including Circle Of Influence (Henery Press, March 2014) and Lost Legacy (Henery Press, September 2014). Her short fiction, including a 2007 Derringer nominee, has appeared in Spinetingler, Mysterical-e, Fish Tales: the Guppy Anthology, and Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales.