I went up to our tiny “police station” (more like a couple of rooms in “city hall”) last week to invite our new police force to the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry which raises funds for some really good charities. This picture was taken through the exterior door which may as well have been welded shut months ago for all the times it has ever been opened, like never. That’s not really a complaint. We’re just going though some tough times. People can only do the possible.
As I found out, it’s useless to invite anyone to anything on a Friday as no one is even in-state on Fridays, and none of the police work on weekends, ever. Talk about an invitation to make Andrews a weekend playground for criminals, either locals or out-of-state knuckleheads. Friday through Sunday are the most busy days for our drug factories / distribution centers. But, I hope, that is about to change quite radically.
As seems to happen a lot, everything has changed once again:
- The chief was given an ultimatum the other day (I’m not saying that was a bad idea given some difficult logistics but conditions should have been laid out before he was hired) and so he up and quit, along with another full time officer (who was subject to the same logistics; and it’s all and only about logistics). The ex-chief will stay on as a part-timer (keeping his cred that way, rightly) but the other guy is gone altogether (though he also keeps his cred by way of the now ex-chief, rightly).
- There are plans to do some other hiring and we’ll start seeing some new faces this week. A local guy with lots of experience and lots of enthusiasm for lots of reasons will be hired as an officer. That’ll be great for us.
- Another guy from Georgia will be getting his NC qualifications from Raleigh in these next days. I think he’s moving in-state, half-way between Andrews and his other job in Georgia. I gotta wonder, though, with a fellow Georgia-ite quitting and the Chief from Georgia being reduced to part time, if that will make this other guy think twice about bothering with Andrews.
- Also, a volunteer will sit at the desk in the office so that the doors might actually be open for the first time in a long time.
This will all help us to settle down a bit. It’s been crazy, and, because of that, unnecessarily dangerous for the police doing a stop or a call. It was basically useless to call in: “Officer requires assistance” or “Officer needs backup.” That situation is untenable. Even an “officer down” alert could take 15 to 45 minutes for a response. But now we might be doing a little better, perhaps. Police lives do matter. We need to act in accord with that fact. We’re getting better. We’re moving forward. That’s good. But it really shouldn’t be on a continuum scale. Either we do things with at least a minimum of safety or we don’t do them at all. Police lives do matter, don’t they? It shouldn’t be a question, just a statement.
I don’t want to put on another seven county tri-state Officer Down Memorial Dinner that includes tolling out the names and end-of-duty dates for Andrews Police…
Anyway, and I could be wrong on this, but I’m wondering whether this means that applications are once again being taken for another Police Chief… Anyone want a real challenge?