The St. Cloud Times reports today that a Worthington man, Ronald Westley, was involved in an accident in St. Cloud.
Police have to deal with robberies, thefts, drugs, and drunk drivers, but they also have to deal with people who get lost, people learning to drive, animal complaints, difficult mediation circumstances and some very, very strange crime reports.
Here are a few from the past couple of weeks, with names and locations stripped in order to avoid embarassing anyone. Take the time to thank your local law enforcement officers.
Things They Don’t Tell You at the Academy
- Sept. 16: Driver evalutation (sic). (Incident reports are sometimes written in a hurry and contain minor spelling or grammar errors, like any rough draft will. I’m fairly sure the full reports are proofed and cleaned up before they’re considered done.)
- Sept. 16: 911 call reports elderly female who seems lost. She went out for a walk and just got a little lost. (She must have been embarassed, but you know, this can happen to anyone. I could get lost in some parts of Worthington too.)
- Sept. 19: Reports an elderly male is missing. He has Alzheimer’s. (Don’t worry, he was found. And no, this is not funny at all, but is just an example of what police deal with every day, so I thought I’d put it up.)
- Sept. 23: Office reports receiving second-hand report of several juveniles smashing melons on parking lot. Spoke with group of juveniles who were eating melons, had to break them first.
- Sept. 25: Reports driving complaint. (Car) driving over the center line, slowing down and then speeding up. Party was helping the driver with his instructional permit learn to drive.
- Sept. 26: Reports problems with paying for his vehicle being serviced. Complainant upset with a bill that is higher than he thought it should be. Advised him of his options.
- Sept. 27: Two 911 calls, same apartment. Female and male co-complainants, both want the other to leave. Officers mediated the problem.
- Sept. 16: Reports raccoons running around the neighborhood.
- Sept. 20: Reports a half-dead cat on the road.
- Sept. 26: Reports sheep in the road. Checked the area, negative contact.
- Oct. 1: Reports a skunk in his live trap.
Your What Was Stolen?
- Sept. 27: Reports theft of fossils. Fossils were not stolen, fossils fell off car and owner forgot about them.
- Sept. 28: Reports theft of coffee.
- Sept. 15: Dept. of Transportation mower tipped over. Driver was ok. No injuries.
- Sept. 19: Damage to squad car while in the car wash–took off the side mirror. (Far, far easier to do than you would think. I hesitate to point to the person I know who did the same thing while backing out of a driveway, but suffice it to say she had lived there for 7 or so years and the tree didn’t exactly sprout up suddenly that day. These things can happen to anyone.)
An incident report for Aug. 13:
- "Reports a cookie problem. Officers talked with complainant and advised of options."
And for Aug. Aug. 21:
- "Reports sheep out on the road. Notified MHP. Will attempt to contact the owner, not home at this time. The sheep are off the road."
I have no idea if the cookie problem was a literal cookie (perhaps there were insufficient chocolate chips?) or an internet cookie (undeletable?).
I was at dinner with my dad and brother last night when a plane went down at the Nobles County Airport.
The newsroom called me on my cellphone and I went out to take a picture, ending up walking from the terminal to the end of the runway in my high-heeled sandals. It was a long walk, which took me through a field of eight-inch grass (I didn’t want to walk on the runway in case there were planes) and a construction area (mud, mud, mud) and by the time I got to the crash site, I was pretty winded.
The law enforcement folks were, as always, very helpful and kind, as were the airport folks. They explained to me what appeared to have happened to the plane and pointed out the pilot, who was busy talking on his cellphone. I waited a while to talk to the pilot, but eventually I just got his name from one of the flyers, who was kind enough to spell it for me and everything.
Then it was time to go back to the terminal. I looked back at the vast expanse of space between me and it, asked if anyone was heading back to the terminal who could give me a ride, and when no one said anything, started walking.
I didn’t get more than half a block when one of the airport guys (I forget his name, unfortunately, but if anyone happens to know, please email me!) drove up in an SUV and offered to drive me back to the terminal, so that I wouldn’t have to walk all the way back in my silly shoes.
People like that are so awesome, and they make my job so much easier.
Another person who made my job easier this week is Andy Hoffman, a 4-H’er who graduated from Worthington High School this year.
Saturday night at the Nobles County Fair, Julie Buntjer and I were taking photos of all the general exhibit winners for the Globe’s fair tab. Well, okay, Julie was taking all the pictures. I was just wandering around with a clipboard trying to figure out whose pictures we hadn’t got yet.
That’s where Andy came in. Julie would call out the names of kids so fast I couldn’t quite keep up with crossing them all off, so Andy would tell me their names and make sure I had everything correct on the list.
If it hadn’t been for him, in other words, you’d probably have 17 photos with the caption of "?" in there, or maybe apologetic notes stating "Due to circumstances beyond our control (an employee who can’t turn pages fast enough, can you believe that), we have no pictures of Susie-Lou Jorkins or Benny Lee Blimppett, who won grand champion in the Things You Do With Scissors project category this year."
So three cheers for the wonderful airport man, and the wonderful 4-H student, both of whom helped me immeasurably this weekend. You guys were awesome.
Along with all the crime and accidents Worthington and Nobles County law enforcement officers investigate every day, there also a few weird calls. Normally we don’t put these into the paper, because they’re really not that significant.
However, they can also be a little bit funny and may inspire some sympathy for law enforcement officials. Many of the calls seem to involve animals.
For example, on Monday:
"911 call reports a loose cow. Owner is taking care of the cow."
In an unrelated incident, on Saturday:
"Reports a pig tied to a tree. Talked to owners and they will move the pig out of town."
And also on Monday:
"Skunk in live trap. Skunk 10-7."
Apparently, 10-7 means "out of service."
Later, we got an updated incident report for the skunk that said "Skunk relocated."
Looking at the incident reports from last night in order to put them in the paper, I was reminded of a line from "The Dark Knight": This town needs a better class of criminal.
There was more BB gun vandalism. And someone vandalized a garage, which seems to have belonged to a church (it’s not completely clear in the report), with graffiti. Classy!
I’ll never understand why people do these things.
Then again, if we had a "better class of criminal," they might be harder to catch.
In the end, I guess all I can do is wish the law enforcement officers good luck, and ask anyone who knows about these crimes to call the Worthington Police Department‘s anonymous tip line at 507-376-TIPS (8477).