Since I began publishing my "Brown Mountain Police Blotter Roundup" posts, I have been longing to find out who writes the "Notable Incidents" list on the Jackson PD website. I enjoy their writing style and condescending use of humor against the criminals. I always pictured it being some police intern/secretary who had nothing better to do so they were tasked with writing the police blotter. To make it interesting, they put their own little spin on things. I never actually thought I would find out who was behind the Notable Incidents, but that unexpectedly changed!
I checked my Official Trailer Park Charlie e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) a couple days ago. Amongst the numerous spam emails from Google, I found one with a subject of "Police Blotter". I eagerly opened it and found the answer to my burning question. It wasn't some low level intern that writes the blotter, it's the Chief of Police himself, and he personally e-mailed me from his Jackson PD e-mail account!!! The Chief had this to say:
(Quoting what I said:)"After reading many of these tales from the actual Jackson PD "Notable Incidents" site, I find myself really wanting to meet the person who writes them. They seem to have almost as much fun with it as I do."
That would be me, Charlie! I started doing it in 2003 because some residents would say, "Why do we need a police department? Nothing happens in sleepy little Jackson". I thought they should see what does happen. We're not unique..... every community has its share. There's no such thing as "Mayberry", unfortunately.
Thanks for putting your email address on your blog, so I could say hello.
I know I've made it as a blogger when I get the attention of the Chief of Police! So, Chief Jed Dolnick is the masked writer I have been looking for. I have been critical of Jackson PD at times, but now I'm proud to say I live in a town watched over by someone with a great sense of humor.
Notable Incidents isn't the only writing Chief Dolnick does either. He has an "Ask the Chief" section in which he responds to the idiotic questions of Jackson residents. I found that he uses the same type of humor to respond to these queries by using references to "The Blues Brothers", a southern tobacco-spitting sheriff, and even driving naked. Here are some of the better responses from Ask the Chief:
Why would a police car be parked with its engine running, when gas is so expensive?
Yes, that does look wasteful. The problem is that the radio, laptop computer, and video camera are all drawing power. The only way to prevent the battery from being rapidly depleted is to either keep the engine running or turn it, and the equipment, off. The computer and camera take time to reboot and sign-on, and that's a problem if the officers gets an assignment. Just like the movie, "Blues Brothers", our squads have "cop batteries" and "cop alternators", but that doesn't prevent this problem or keep us from shelling out a lot of money to replace ruined batteries. That's why you'll sometimes see a squad locked and running.
I have a neighbor who brags that he has friends in the police department, so he feels he can do whatever he wants.(Note: That isn't a question!)
Some people claim to "have connections" to impress others and make themselves feel important. The connection could be to the police, a politician, an influential business person, or even a celebrity. However, there can be a more sinister purpose: intimidation. In this case, neighbors were afraid to call the police department when the man was having loud parties late into the evening. They believed that the man's "friends on the police department" wouldn't do anything, and might even retaliate against them for complaining.
There are other variations of this theme. Last year, our officers were called to a tavern fight. The victims were immediately on the defensive because they felt the "local cops" wouldn't protect them. I don't know why they assumed the other patrons were Jackson residents. When I worked for the sheriff's department, I handled several incidents in which a non-resident assumed I would take the side of a "local" against an "outsider". The "outsider vs. local" scenario might be due to many movies and television shows. There's the cowboy who comes into a town where they "don't cotton to strangers". Another familiar theme: the college kids driving to Florida for Spring Break who get into trouble with a small town Southern police chief or sheriff (who inevitably says, "I run a nice clean town" while spitting tobacco juice).
It was difficult for me to convince the caller that no one should hesitate to call us for help. Even if the neighbor was a personal friend of an officer (which he isn't) that friendship would end if it was used as the caller described. Our actions must be, and are, based on an unbiased application of the law. As Judge James Edwin Horton said in the "Scottsboro Boys" case (Alabama, 1933), "We have only to do our duty without fear or favor".
Is it really against the law to drive without your shoes on?
No. As far as the motor vehicle code is concerned, you don't even need to be dressed (but don't try that since it would be against the law).
These are just a few of the many responses The Chief gives to his brain-dead citizens. If you want to see more, go check out "Ask the Chief" to find out what he says to retarded queries like:
- Why were "Recall Walker" people allowed to collect signatures on village property?
-I know someone who was stopped because the car was registered to his brother, who's suspended. The driver didn't do anything wrong, though. I thought the police needed a reason to stop a vehicle.
- Why does Jackson have so many officers?
- Does your department unlock car doors?
- Your officers were handing out parking tickets during the village-wide rummage sale. That wasn't a very friendly thing to do, considering the village invited us.
- I got arrested, and my name was in the newspaper. How do I keep that a secret?
- What's With The Black Gloves?
- Who Can Drink Non-Alcoholic Beer?