Welcome to the final installment of the Police Blotter (at least the version of it written by me). Back in May, I accepted a transfer (Oh… how the RCMP loves to uproot it’s membership) to the City of St. Albert. Thanks, in no small part to a weakened global economy, it took until January to sell my home here. Thanks, in no small part to a weakened global economy, it took significantly less time to find a more than suitable replacement home there. Things are moving rather more quickly now and I will actually be working at my new detachment about a week after you read this. I could fill this page (and many more) with a list of the things I am going to miss about Ponoka; my fellow members, our neighbours, our friends and acquaintances. I’m also going to really miss writing this thing. So instead of going on and on …
A Ponoka Freeway member was dispatched to a complaint of a stranded school bus (carrying a bunch of 13 and 14 year old cheerleaders) on the QEII. The bus driver wanted to know if a member could attend and help warn traffic away from the parked bus until the tow truck arrived and another bus arrived to take the kids. The Ponoka member noted that the location of the bus was outside of Ponoka’s jurisdiction and was in kind of a no-man’s land between Wetaskiwin and Leduc’s boundaries. He hoped that at least one member from one of those detachments would attend and lend some assistance. He was overwhelmed when he learned that a dozen or so members from Wetaskiwin, Leduc, Hobbema (even a Ponoka Municipal member – I won’t say who) and a couple of Alberta Sheriffs raced out to the scene to provide whatever assistance was required. He was only half wondering if this sudden flood of law enforcement personnel had anything to do with his – possibly saying – that the cheerleaders in question were the University of Texas Cheerleaders en route to a competition in Edmonton.
This week members of the RCMP and the Alberta Sheriffs conducted a joint operation on the QEII designed to identify and charge careless drivers. Essentially this was done by having an army of plain clothes members in unmarked police vehicles infiltrate traffic on the busy freeway in order to observe careless drivers in their natural habitat (that is to say a road where police eyes are not evident). Very soon after the operation began, police had issued their first, of many, careless driving charges. This one was issued to the driver of a vehicle travelling amongst fast moving, bumper to bumper, freeway traffic, steering with his knees as he stared at himself in the rear view mirror while he gave his teeth a thorough flossing.
A trucker called police to report that his rig was clipped by another vehicle and that the offending vehicle passed him and was continuing to be driven in an erratic manner. Police rolled out to the area and got in behind the suspect vehicle. As the member was closing the distance, the suspect vehicle meandered into the shoulder, over corrected, lost control and rolled three times, ending up back on it’s wheels. The member was surprised to see the driver then get out of the car, walk to the rear of the car, unzip and void his bladder (for what seemed to be a very long time), shake, zip and walk back to the driver’s side door of that car. At the point that the man tried to get back into his car (presumably oblivious to the police) for the purpose of continuing his journey … he was arrested for impaired driving. Back at the detachment he provided samples of his whiskey saturated breath which, more than adequately, supported the impaired related charges he was facing; not that there was any doubt though – on the investigator’s part.
A waitress called police to report that she had been assaulted by a drunk female customer. She provided the 9-1-1 operator with her name and personal details and she made it clear that it was her intention to make a formal statement and to press charges. In the minute or so that it took the first member to arrive, things changed. The first thing that changed was her name (she suddenly had a new surname – a surname which she was suspiciously unfamiliar with the spelling of) and then she changed her mind about wanting to lay charges against the woman who assaulted her – she didn’t want the “court hassle”. Reluctantly the member accepted that he would not be investigating an assault complaint and had to be satisfied with arresting the assault complainant for her five outstanding warrants. He further cautioned her not to make things any more complicated by continuing to lie about her identity. He explained that the 9-1-1 operator had already run her name, before he’d even arrived and he’d pretty much anticipated the deception. The woman acknowledged her outstanding warrants and scolded herself for not coming up with an alias that was easier to spell.
Police were dispatched to a complaint at an all night convenience store. The staff there had called to complain that a drunken youth had just stolen some beef jerky and ran away. The first member arrived at the store and obtained the description of the youth and also learned that he had stolen a case of beef jerky, not just a package or two, like the original dispatch made it sound. Another member was rolling up to a youth in that area. He had mostly noticed a peculiar walk. (Author’s note: Const. Harper gave me a demonstration of the peculiar walk in question and when I saw it, I immediately thought of Miss Wiggin’s from the old Carol Burnett Show. Const. Harper shot me a confused look, as he often does, when I talk about anything pre-21st century. I had to era-correct myself and tell him, “You know, J-Lo on steroids … big phat bubble butt”. “Yeah yeah!”, he said, “it was just like that”).
As he got nearer to the youth he noted that the young lad was unselfconsciously wet; nursing a beer bottle and wearing the very same clothes as the suspect from the, mere moments old, Grand Theft – Beef Jerky complaint. Soon after that, the member discovered that drunkenness only partially accounted for the peculiar gait exhibited by this youth and that it mostly had to do with his having a couple hundred packages of beef jerky stuffed into all of his pants pockets (giving him that buxom, big bottomed look as well as accounting for the bumpity-bumpity, super model, runway strut). He was arrested and charged for the theft. I feel that I should point out the fact that this lad is mere months away from legal eligibility to vote. I bring this up because this nitwit was drinking scotch from a different bottle. The operative theory being that the scotch would be disguised by the fact it was in something other than a scotch bottle … in this case a beer bottle.
Before I go, I want to say thank you to everyone who has tuned in to page four of the Ponoka News to read this blotter over the last six (plus) years. I want to thank the Ponoka News for allowing me the opportunity to occupy the top half of that page for that same period of time. I’m grateful to the “Cowboys for Social Responsibility” blog for not only reprinting these blotters on the web, but also for tricking them out with hilarious illustrations. I want to give a shout out to Naughti-Girl on the Sailing Anarchy (???) blog for reprinting these over the last year or so. (By the way Naughti – if that’s your real name – beer’s OK but Jack Daniels is better and your Mom has managed to stay out of trouble here). Thank you to the Red Deer Advocate and Alberta Views magazine. Much thanks to 630 CHED for taking one blotter and turning it into an episode of Dragnet. Thank you to whoever submitted a couple blotters to Fark.com in the UK. The reactions were interesting to say the least. Being called “a frustrated novelist forced to write the police blotter” has inspired me. I really could go on and on. I’ll stop by thanking the members who contributed (and were sometimes roasted in) these little narratives and my wife (for the times that the spelling is correct and the commas are in their proper places).
Some people have suggested that I compile a “Best Of” book. I am giving that some serious consideration. It would make for a great bathroom reader (at one or two paragraphs each, you could read as much or as little as you needed to, according to your particular requirements). I’d include some “never before seen” material in it. I’ve written a fair bit more on the subjects than I’ve submitted to the paper. My book (if I write it) then could justifiably have that “environmentally conscious” message on the first page: “This book is made from 70 per cent recycled materials”. ‘Til then …
If you have information about any unsolved crime or ongoing criminal enterprise, call the Ponoka RCMP at 783-4472. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or now leave tips anonymously on-line at www.tipsubmit.com . If this is the kind of environment that you would like to work in, we are hiring. Check us out at www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca or call 1-877-RCMP-GRC for information about the application process. So long!