Behind the Badge

"When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge."
Proverbs 14:32

Let's get a Picture

In police work as in almost any other line of work, there are supervisors who are liked and others who are not liked for one reason or another. No matter whether a police officer was liked or not everyone would go to their aid if they needed help. However, if they got themselves into something that was not life threatening, just embarrassing, it was always nice to be there to see it.

My first partner, whom I became very close to, years after we rode together was the supervisor of the four p.m. to midnight shift and I was the supervisor of the midnight to eight a.m. shift. We both had the same supervisor in charge of us, he was one of those who could really get under your skin and did most every day.

Since I relieved my ex-partner every night and since we were close friends, I would come out to work a little early so we could talk and have some coffee before he called it a night. For the past week or so there had been a murder trial being held in Beaufort. We had been worried that there would be some violence over this trial but so far there had not been. This evening when I came in my ex-partner told me the trial had ended early in the evening and both defendants had been given the death sentence. He also told me that our supervisor had escorted the two deputies with the convicted murderers to the state prison in Columbia. He told me they had not gotten back yet so I should expect them anytime.

We talked and had a cup of coffee at our office and he filled me in on what had taken place during his shift. While we were talking, we heard our supervisor come on the radio. At first, we just looked at each other as his words started to sink in. He told the dispatcher to call the highway patrol because he had just run into a train at the county line. He went on to say that no one had been hurt but his car had been damaged.

Being shift supervisors both my ex-partner and I carried photography equipment in our cars, for crime scene work. This was too good to be true. You dreamed about things like this. We almost hurt each other trying to get out of the office. We both wanted to get up there so we could get some pictures of this.

By the time we made it to the parking lot, we had decided to both go in one car. It might be too much if both of us pulled up, got out and started taking pictures. Anyway we would just make two prints of each.

We took off in my former partner's car. He had it put into the wind, we wanted to get there before all the fun was over.

We raced up highway 21 with blue light and siren on, our spirits high, and laughing every time we thought about it. We were doing fine until we came upon a local bar. As we came up on it a car traveling south toward us decided to turn into the bar parking lot which was on our right. The car turned right in front of us crossing just feet in front of our fast-moving patrol car. We swerved to the left and missed the car by several inches. We both wanted to stop and beat the crap out of the guy for scaring us, but as good police officers we both knew that things have to be handled by priority. Right now our highest priority was to get pictures of that accident.

Somehow we made it safely to the scene where we found to our added delight that he had indeed hit a train. It would have been good if he had been hit by a train but that's not what happened, he hit the train, which was backing across the road, broadside. It got even better when the patrolman told him the train had the right of way. He complained that the train did not have any lights on the back. The reply to that was, it didn't have to, as long as it had a light on the front. Besides one of the men working on the train had gotten off and had been holding a light to warn traffic. Of course it might have helped more if the train hadn't been between the light and his car!

It's hard to act professional when you are having this much fun!

by R.L. Dettwiler


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