June 6, 2010 3:31:00 AM
Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]
These are some top "cop" stories from when I was the liaison between a charity organization and law enforcement, a little peek behind closed doors.
Mr. Ed, the jailer, asked me to come to the jail and visit a young woman. She was going to prison and leaving her small children. I went. Later I asked Ed, "How do you manage to treat prisoners so nice? They are not all nice people." He responded, "I just treat them like I would want someone to treat my kid."
As I passed officers and inmates in hallways, the officer addressed the inmate, "Mr. Jones, please step this way," or "Ms. Smith, please sit here." I wondered if any of these offenders had ever been treated with this much respect on the street.
Officer Bill always wore a smile even though his own daughter was a drug user. Her battle cost him untold heartache. As he watched other children in the community do the same, he went to the parents and told them, warned them; pleaded with them to intervene before the law did. He didn''t have to do that, but he had been that parent and he cared.
Early one morning I received a call; a policewoman wanted to know if the Salvation Army could provide necessities for an elderly woman who had been removed from unfit housing. While trying to locate family members, the policewoman had bathed and bedded the woman as if she were her own mother.
Then there was Deputy George. One night he had to interview a woman who had been assaulted and raped by someone she knew and trusted. It was late; George called home and asked his wife to come and comfort the woman. He said he could never do his job without the help of his wife.
At a summer camp program I befriended Jenny. Later Jenny was assaulted while her mom was at work. After that her mother moved her from place to place trying to keep her safe. Jenny was being threatened and harassed by the perpetrator and his family. I told "Big John" about her situation. He said, "Give me her name. I''ll find her."
John found Jenny and told her that if anyone threatened her to let him know and he would arrest them. For the first time in her life someone "big" was on her side. Big John is the biggest, fairest, and nicest man I have ever met in my life.
The police chief was a jovial guy, and I was pleased to call him my friend. Recently I saw him in another county; his bear hug lifted me right off the floor. Though retired, he''s still in law enforcement, and he''s still jovial. There''s another retired police chief, still in law enforcement. I see him often; he is never without a smile, a helping hand and a kind word.
In this world there are some downright good people and many of them are our peacemakers.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.