Corner Column

Posted 2/10/22

A little over a year ago I began retrieving the Mineola police log weekly in order to report the goings on as they relate to the local police beat.

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Corner Column


A little over a year ago I began retrieving the Mineola police log weekly in order to report the goings on as they relate to the local police beat.

For many years Capt. Joyce Box (now Watkins)did the yeoman’s work of providing that weekly report, but after the longtime captain retired, combined with the challenges police departments everywhere have had filling positions, all that the department had time to get us was a summary.

So we stepped up to bring some additional details to our readers.

I would not do police work for any amount of money, but I am sure glad they do it.

Almost every week they have to deal with situations for which I have little doubt that their police academy training did not fully prepare them.

It did not come as much of a surprise, having reported on small town police and sheriff’s departments for decades, but seeing it every week in stark black-and-white has been a reminder just what a tough, and even thankless,  job it can be.

Sometimes they help citizens solve problems, and other times they come across problems which are outside their ability to solve.

So many of the situations they face have little if anything to do with actual police work. On some days, they’re as much about social services as they are about law enforcement and crime prevention.

Let’s face it, some people just can’t get along, and inevitably it rises to the level that the police become involved.

Sometimes the police are able to help foster communication and come to an amicable end.

But they are not trained professional counselors, and sometimes I think it might be advantageous if one could tag along. I know it is impractical, but there have been experiments in some cities which have met with success in sending non-police to non-police calls.

That’s a discussion for another day.

Many calls fall into that gray area where it might be a police call but maybe not. Sometimes the cops have to tell citizens that they are dealing with a civil matter and must go through the courts. Other times what started as a non-police call turns into one.

Let’s face it, on many days they see some us at our worst and have to navigate tricky situations.

Here are some of my take aways from the weekly reporting:

1-If an officer did nothing but patrol Pacific St. or Broad St. all day, they could probably write enough tickets to support city government. I’m not suggesting that, just making an observation. Driving Pacific almost every day I can testify that speeding tickets could be handed out like candy at Halloween.

2-Momma was right – nothing much good happens after midnight.

3-It’s amazing the steady number of reckless driver reports, most of which can’t be located, and the vast majority of which are reported coming into town on Hwy. 69 South and Hwy. 37 North.

I wonder how many of those drivers were on their cell phone. I’d guess it’s a high percentage. Studies show consistently that it’s as bad or worse than drunken driving.

4-The Walmart effect remains an issue.

I had a chief tell me once in another town that the big box retailer basically adds one full-time officer to the department. From theft calls to wrecks in the parking lot to children (and some dogs) left unattended in vehicles to unruly customers, the store attracts police calls on a regular basis – daily or more often.

I have not compared what they pay in taxes to see if it’s a winning or losing proposition, but I might check into that one day.

5-Some folks are just plain nosy and call the cops for the least little thing, but occasionally such a welfare check will yield a necessary call. It’s like they say, the best thing about a small town is also the worst thing when it comes to people knowing your business.