Transcript from a speech by Officer Fred Fields
I’m here to talk about community policing.
I know, I know. Most of the time, guys with fancy degrees come up with some academic theory, and then us patrol cops are stuck with making it apply to real life. Which it never does.
But community policing is different. It’s what I’ve always done: getting to know the citizens of Danger Cove and working with you to solve problems.
Take the case I closed last week. I got a call from Shirley’s Ice Cream Parlor that their lighthouse had been stolen. Not the real one overlooking the cove, but the foot-tall, plastic one that collected donations for repairs to the real one.
I could have just filed a report, but that’s not how community policing works. Instead, I talked to everyone who had one of the little lighthouses. I started with the Cinnamon Sugar Bakery, and I see that some of you are snickering. I do have something of a sweet tooth, but it was actually solid police instinct. Riley told me she’d seen three teen boys hanging around the counter looking guilty, and after they left, she realized they’d added about twenty dollars to the plastic lighthouse.
I thought it was just a weird coincidence until I talked to Cassidi at The Clip and Sip. And before you ask, no, I didn’t accept one of the complimentary drinks she offers her customers. Cassidi had seen the three teens, they’d lurked a bit, and then after they left, the plastic lighthouse was noticeably fuller.
I got the same story from George at the Enchanted Florist and Gil at the museum. I was on my way to talk to Bree at the Ocean View B&B, when I got a message that the owner of the Smugglers’ Tavern wanted me to stop by. There was a lighthouse there too, and it was just up the road, so I decided the B&B could wait.
Hope Foster was behind the bar, and she silently pointed me toward her only customers, three teens slumped at a corner table. I didn’t need to do a field test to know they’d been drinking, and I knew without asking that they hadn’t gotten their alcohol at the Tavern. See? Community policing at work.
Two of the kids were completely passed out, but the third one raised his head. He gave me a big smile. “Hi, Ossifer. Looking for this?” He raised a plastic lighthouse into the air and waved it at me.
I pulled out my handcuffs, dragged the kids down to the station, and all three of them are locked up until they turn eighteen.
They’re grounded, but they’re not locked up. That’s the whole point of community policing. We work together, so responsible business owners can get involved without fearing that they’ll be blamed unfairly, and kids who get caught up in a bit of foolishness won’t get punished disproportionately to their actions.
See, the teens had wanted to help raise funds for the lighthouse renovations. They stumbled across some internet articles about stolen charity boxes, and they noticed that afterwards, people were so outraged by the theft that they showered money on the charity. That gave the boys the not-so-bright idea to steal one of the little lighthouses in order to increase donations.
They were working on returning all the money in the stolen lighthouse, dividing it among all the collection boxes, when they started to have second thoughts. They stopped at a nearby friend’s house to have a drink or three for courage before continuing on to their last stop, the Smugglers’ Tavern.
They forgot to be stealthy about filling the lighthouse on the bar and they even brandished the stolen lighthouse while they were high-fiving each other on a mission accomplished. Hope encouraged them to stay and enjoy a free mug of local cider, letting them believe it would be the hard variety, but actually serving them the alcohol-free version, and then she called dispatch to contact me. The boys were turned over to their parents, and I’m confident they won’t do any more illegal drinking or lighthouse-lifting in the future.
I hope you’ll remember this story and contact me through our website, dangercovemysteries.com if you see anything suspicious here in town. Only you can put the U in community policing.
Okay, I know that was corny. The guys with the fancy degrees told me to say it.
Gin Jones’s Four-Patch of Trouble is the fourth book in the multi-author “Danger Cove” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The first book is Secret of the Painted Lady.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 10 for the chance to win a digital copy of Four-Patch of Trouble. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.
About the author
Gin Jones is a lawyer who specializes in ghost-writing for other lawyers. In her spare time, Gin makes quilts, grows garlic and serves on the board of directors of the XLH Network. Visit Gin at her website, ginjones.com.