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August 1, 2017

'Stretchers' and the National Night Out

Harry M. Covert

Of all the events of community awareness the National Night Out is one of the best – if not the epitome – of sheriff's and police interacting with the people.


Tonight, around the country, the people can shake hands, have fun with the uniformed and learn a few things. It's very good for all areas of the community to be involved. There will be lots of various types of snacks and sodas and tasty morsels to enhance the evening's proceedings.


Since days of yonder as a reporter of police news, people all over the land can visit with the women and men of brown, blue and black uniforms.


In all my years I've never ever met a sworn officer of the law, peace officers, corrections officers, jailers and other First Responders, including fire personnel and emergency technicians, on what television and movies often like to portray as on the take.


I am not so naïve to think that someplace, somewhere a sworn officer may have been derelict in this way, accepting more than a coffee or donuts or lunch.


Heck, in my early newspaper days, it wasn't unusual to receive gifts. It was great to receive a bushel of oysters and crabs, or buffet lunches and other things. We sure received some good stories and without obligations.


So many fictional books, teevee shows and the flicks in the entertainment business take advantage of such thinking and the result is many in the general public think such conduct is real. Of course, the plots are exaggerated. That's for fun and games.


If anything, the tasks of law enforcement isn't like anything else in the world. Thankfully there are people who do the job and despite the real risks of life and death daily, go about protecting communities.


Of course, we always have stories of drivers caught speeding then spend days and years saying "it ain't so. I was driving the limit. This officer was just trying to reach his quota."


Right off the bat. We all know hogwash when we hear it. There's nothing new under the sun.


Once I was nabbed for driving six months without an up-to-date license plate. I was surprised. Embarrassed, too. I even neglected to pay the ticket before the court day. So, off I went to traffic court. The judge called my name a bit gruffly since he had to handle a bunch of other scofflers with various tales of woe.


"Guilty or not guilty," Hizzoner asked, trying to get through the loaded docket without a pleasant disposition.


No kidding, I answered "guilty as sin your honor. The officer is absolutely correct."


I acknowledged the new license plate had been bought and verified by the officer. I knew a big fine was in order.


To my utter shock, the case was dismissed. The officer sneaked a grin. I learned my lesson.


There are so many good police and sheriff's tales out there. Covering the cops and robbers beats are really better than dealing in general with politics. The latter does bring about all kinds of stories. They are fun, entertaining, and politicians are often in the same category with speeders. Let's just say traffic offenders have lots of exaggerations, and, with apologies to public servants, so do those in the political games.


National Night Out brings out lots old notes and memories. The opportunity is awesome to celebrate with the good gals and guys. Their daily lives are always dangerous. Lots of great things happen. Their activities are never dull and always unexpected.


Modern technology is marvelous and makes the work a bit easier for peacemakers. It's the old fashion stuff that keeps them always on the alert. And think about them tonight while enjoying National Night Out.


One more thing. Next time readers are stopped for traffic violation, put your hands on the steering wheel and say thanks. They already know if your lips are moving a "stretcher" is going to be verbal.


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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