by Joyce Tremel
Ever wonder what else police officers do when they're not fighting crime? If you spent a day or two with one of our officers, you'd quickly learn that being a cop involves much more than what you see on TV.
On most days, there are no crimes to solve. We probably average a burglary or two a week, a couple of thefts, and a few domestics. So with an average of 25 calls per day, what else do we handle?
Well, pretty much everything. Over the weekend, when we had fifty mile an hour winds and falling temperatures, the officers spent the day outside. There were trees and power lines down all over the place. The three officers on the daylight shift had to block roads, direct traffic, make sure dispatch notified the power company, plus handle any emergency calls that came in. Since the power was out for an extended period of time, they also had to assist residents, especially the elderly ones, get to the warming stations set up in the local fire halls. When the power came back on, they even helped an elderly lady who couldn't figure out how to get her furnace to come back on.
During the snow storm on Tuesday, the lucky fellows spent another day out in the weather due to the numerous accidents and vehicles stuck in the snow. A few people even locked their keys in their cars. We're one of the few departments that still handles vehicles lockouts. The three guys on duty never complained once all day long. (But then, I usually complain enough for everyone.)
Back in September 2004, when Hurricane Ivan decided to blow through the area, we had what the experts call a "One Hundred Year Flood."
When the creek started rise, the Chief didn't have to make a single call for extra guys. One by one, they showed up at the station. One of our detectives made a spectacular rescue that night that I wrote about in the FBI Bulletin (scroll to the very end to the Bulletin Notes).
When they're not out in the snow, wind, and flood waters, the officers are catching up on paperwork. Every call they go on has to be documented, no matter how minor. Which is a good thing, otherwise I wouldn't have a job. I take the handwritten reports and enter them into the computer using "The Informer," our police report software. They also take phone calls from people, chase dogs running loose, pick up debris from the roadway and many other mundane things.
Do you have any questions on the day to day operations of the police department? Ask away!