· Episode 4 ·
In an earlier episode, Deputy Tom Jennings was assigned to investigate a theft of soil from a county ditch. The call to 911 had come from a Road and Bridge employee. Upon the deputy’s arrival, he discovered it was only an Amish women recovering her eroded garden soil after a heavy rain. Even though Jennings considered the theft call ridiculous, he questioned the woman and collected information for a case. He decided to make a report so that the facts would speak for themselves, not because he thought she was guilty. The documentation could have proven that Mrs. Yoder was innocent of any wrong-doing in case someone decided to pursue theft charges. But due to concern by his patrol captain about the apparent reaction to the investigation, Jennings was told to leave the scene as soon as possible without making a report.
Patrol Captain McArdle, on a smoke break outside the law enforcement center, received a return call from the Road and Bridge Department, or R&B, before his officers ever had an opportunity to return to the station to meet with him. The deputies were busy on an injury accident.
Kane, the assistant director of R&B, asked, “What’s up?”
McArdle had a reputation for being direct, but since he had known Kane for twenty-five years, he asked a preliminary question.
“Kane,” said McArdle, “How long have we known each other?”
Kane followed the script. “A long time, ever since the night we met on the ice-covered Arkansas River Bridge. You were working a fatality wreck and told me the county ought to have an electronic sign that warned people of icy bridges when conditions were severe. I told you that if people needed a warning sign about ice on a bridge in winter, then they shouldn’t have a driver’s license.
“Why do you ask how long we’ve known each other?” continued Kane. “Is your life of boozing finally catching up with you? Is your brain pickled?”
“I ask because you’ve always been concerned about your vehicles and heavy equipment being safe. You’re quick to call me if they get vandalized or stolen. Now you’re concerned about people stealing dirt? What’s with that? Have your priorities changed? I must have missed the inter-departmental memo.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” replied Kane. “Start at the beginning.”
“One of my officers got dispatched to a theft-in-progress of county dirt from a county ditch. An Amish woman was retrieving her garden soil after last night’s storm. The call came from your department.”
“Oh . . . Who called it in?”
“I’m not even sure the caller gave his name. It’s your problem now, I hope. Because of the call, we got put in a bad situation. Even though we no-cased it, there may be repercussions. I’m still waiting to hear the details from my officers. I know the Amish have a reputation of forgiving others, but I think they have long memories, too. We overreacted.”
“I’ll do some checking. If it was one of my people, I’ll learn what’s going on. I’ll deal with it. I’ve got a couple of workers who can get pushy, even aggressive, when it comes to farmers taking advantage of us when they plow and plant in our right-of-way. It causes us problems.”
“Kane, we’re not talking about a couple rows of field crop planted in a ditch; we’re talking about soil eroding from a garden, an Amish garden.”
“Okay, okay,” said Kane. “I’m just trying to make sense of the call if it came from one of our employees.”
“Thanks, Kane. I’m glad to hear you’re on it. I knew you’d want to figure it out.”
“I’ll get to the bottom of this,” promised Kane. “Thanks for the call.”
To be continued.
Until next time, happy writing and reading!