Friday, September 27, 2013

Graham Quartet - Part 13

Happy Fall Favorite Friday Fiction Fans!
I hope you have been enjoying cooler temperatures and are ready to pull out those darker, warmer clothes. I sure am, only it hasn't been cool enough yet.

This week has been a whirlwind writing week for me. Since I'll be busy the next two weeks, I decided to try and finish writing Triple Creek Ranch - Book 2 this week. Well, I certainly have gotten a whole lot written, somewhere around 10,500 words. Yes, the book is almost done. I'm not sure how many parts I still have to write, but not many. I'm hoping to get them written today and tomorrow. If you think about it, you can pray that I'll be able to get them done.

Last night's Sheriff's Academy was lots of fun. Stay tuned next week for the report. (Oh, that means I need to get the report written today or tomorrow!)

Well, I know I don't have a whole lot to say this morning, but it's been a writing week with not much else going on. Since this is the last part of the Graham Quartet that I have written, I'm not sure what I'll post next week. I guess you'll have to come back and see. (Would anyone mind another part of Dr. Morgan?)

Graham Quartet - Part 13

    Quietly and cautiously, yet without any show of hesitation, the quartet moved steadily forward towards the dark shape of the cabin.
    Reaching the door, the siblings halted as Matt raised his hand and gave the signal knock. The door was opened almost immediately and Guy said softly from the dark room, “Come in quickly.”
    “Is something wrong, Guy?” Elsa asked after the door was quickly shut and fastened behind them.
    Only after the agent had turned on a dim light did he answer. “No, but this is the time of day when one must always be on the watch. When it is growing darker and the shadows are long, it makes it easier to slip through the trees.”
    “You heard us coming, didn’t you?” Tim asked.
    Guy smiled. “I heard the truck and watched from upstairs as you four headed this direction.”
    “Could you tell it was us?” Selena inquired.
    “Uh huh. Now, what brings you four out here? Sorry I’m using the fireplace sparingly because of the radio message, but I do have a small heater I discovered in the closet. This ought to warm you up somewhat.” As he spoke, Guy had carried from the bedroom a small electric heater which he plugged in and turned on.
    “That’s right,” Matt said, “I had forgotten there was a little heater here. But it probably doesn’t keep the cabin too warm.”
    Guy shrugged. “I’m used to the cold. Besides, it sure beats staying outside. Now tell me what’s going on.” He sat down and looked at the Quartet who were seated near the small heater.
    After Elsa nodded at him, Matt spoke first. “I don’t think this really has anything to do with this case, but in social studies the teacher mentioned Hong Kong.”
    “What is the teacher’s name? What did he say about it?” The questions were quick and Guy looked searchingly at Matt’s face.
    “Mr. Tompkins. He said Hong Kong was a colony of the British crown and it had a free trade harbor, meaning they didn’t charge duties on things coming in. He also mentioned that their largest export was textiles.”
    For a moment after Matt finished, Guy remained silent, his brows furrowed in thought. At last he said, “Can you write out a list of everyone who was in the room when he mentioned that?”
    Matt looked surprised. “I think so. I don’t sit in the back of the room so I couldn’t tell you for sure if anyone else had come in or not.”
    “Were there any assistant teachers there?”
    Matt shook his head. “No, Mr. Tompkins does all the teaching himself. He’s never liked another adult in the classroom while he’s teaching.”
    “Where is the door into your classroom?”
    “On the side near the back.”
    “Do you know if the door was open or shut?”
    “I don’t know for certain, but I know it was shut when class started because Mr. Tompkins always shuts the door before we begin. But if you have a piece of paper I can write down the names of all my classmates. Everyone was there today.”
    Nodding towards the table, Guy said, “There’s some paper over on the table.”
    Matt nodded and rose. It wouldn’t take long to make out the list.
    “Before we go on,” Guy said softly, “let’s make sure no one’s around.” He turned out the light. “Tim, take the loft, Selena, the west side, Elsa the east. I’ll check the north and Matt, here’s a pen light. You keep writing,” he added the last as Matt made a movement as though to rise.
    After several minutes of careful checking from each of the covered windows in their assigned wall, all returned to their seats. Nothing had been seen to indicate anyone was about.
    “Do you usually check the windows often when you are alone?” Tim wondered as Guy turned the dim light on once more and Matt joined them.
    “Not usually. You see, if I’m alone I can hear so much more than when I’m having a conversation with others.” He turned to Matt. “This is everyone you know who was in the room?”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “Good. I’ll take a look at it later. What else do you have?”
    Then Elsa told of her experience with the stranger inquiring about tours of the furniture factory.
    “Hmm, and you say this man looked somewhat familiar, yet you don’t know who he was?”
    Elsa shook her head. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before, but he resembles someone; I just can’t figure out who. Maybe it’s just a combination of several people and that is what has me mixed up.” She shook her head again.
    For several minutes, Guy cross questioned her about everything the man had said, where he had gone after he left them, what he was wearing and other things that the quartet couldn’t see had anything to do with the encounter at all. At last he fell silent.
    “Did we help at all?” Tim whispered.
    “What?” Guy asked, looked up and blinking. It was obvious that his mind had wandered from the cabin. “Help at all? I can’t say for sure yet, but it’s more than I had to go on before. Keep your eyes and ears open and keep me informed. But remember, be careful.”
    “We will,” the Quartet answered in a breath.
    “Come on, you three,” Matt said, standing up. “Dad should be coming along soon and if we don’t want to have to walk all the way home, we’d better get out to the road.”
    Quickly coats, hats and gloves were pulled on and the Quartet, after saying good-bye to their friend, stealthily slipped from the cabin and out into the darkening winter’s night.

    Just before Matt, having snapped off the bedroom light, crawled into bed, Tim whispered, “I wonder what we’ll find out tomorrow!”
    “Me too,” Matt replied quietly. “But let’s get some sleep first.” He yawned. “I’m tired.”

Help me out with questions!
Any ideas of what happens next?
Who do you think that stranger talking to Elsa was?
Do they learn anything the next day?
And if so, what?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SCA Class - 4

SCA Class - 4

    Thanks for joining me once again as we attend the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy Class 4 and learn about dangerous drugs with Detective Alvin Peavler.

    Arriving at class, we took our seats and received our handouts. Sgt. Davis did a quick introduction of Det. Peavler before turning the class over to him.
    Det. Peavler started out in the Sheriff’s department working in the jail before switching to work in the police force of his home town. However, after several years and no opportunity for advancement, he switched back to the Sheriff’s department and has been there ever since. “I love my job,” he told us. “I can show up for work in plain clothes and it doesn’t matter.” (He’s what you might call an “undercover man” in the Drug Task Force.) He is also a member of the SWAT team and said, “You’ll get to see me again at the Carthage range when you all learn about SWAT.” (Stay tuned for that report!)
    Some of the drugs we heard about were Marijuana, Crack Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin and K2. Our first drug that we looked into was Meth.
    I don’t know who ever came up with the stuff in the first place, but you have to be an idiot to want to put the stuff it’s made from into your body! Would you ever take the striker plates off match boxes, coleman fuel, iodine and several other chemicals and put them in your body? We watched a video of someone telling how to “cook meth” using the “shake and bake” method. By the way, that is highly dangerous and often explodes.
    Most meth cooks use their kitchen since that is where most of their ingredients are anyway. But instead of using their stove, they nearly always use a small camping stove. “I don’t know why unless it’s because they think they can toss the little stove out the window and no one will know they’ve been cooking,” Det. Peavler said. But when you’ve cooked meth even one time in a house, the smell will never leave. You can’t get rid of it unless you completely tear things out and start again. And just for your information, if you should go into a house that smells like cat urine and there is no cat, it’s a good chance that meth has been cooked there because that’s what it smells like. (Would you want to put something that smells like that into you?)
    The next drug was Marijuana. “That is the least dangerous drug,” Det. Peavler told us. “But it usually leads to worse things.” Some states have legalized Marijuana including Colorado and Washington. There were two other states, but he couldn’t remember which ones they were. Missouri tried to legalize it, but it didn’t pass. I pray it never does!
    The last drug we really talked about was K2. Clemson University in Illinois decided to develop this synthetic Marijuana. Why they thought it would be a good idea, I have no clue! Now the way this drug is sold is in potpourri. Yes, you read that right. They lace the potpourri with the synthetic drug and sell it. Those who want potpourri use it in the normal way, but the others smoke it. And not only do people now smoke potpourri, they also die from it. There have already been several deaths from it. Legal retail outlets sell the K2 which, by the way, has “Not for human consumption” on the package. But, as soon as the stores know that the law is wise to them, they no longer display it but keep it in the back just for those who ask. Det. Peavler told us that he was hoping to shut down the last place in the area that they knew of which still sold it. If they get the right evidence, they should be able to turn the whole thing into a federal case and work their way up the chain to also take down the suppliers.
    Speaking of strange things people do, did you know that bath salts have also become a source for drug addicts to get “high”? Det. Peavler told us, “I got a call once and when I responded, there was a man running in circles in the middle of the road. He thought the world was coming to an end and that aliens were after him. I tried to get the guy under control, but that guy was crazy! I fought him for a minute and a half before I could get to my radio long enough to call for help! He was hanging on to me trying to get my gun, my mace, my club, my tazer, my radio, and it was all I could do to keep him from them. I kicked and hit and scratched and still the guy kept coming back. By the time back up arrived I was exhausted. but even with several other guys, it took us four minutes to get the guy in handcuffs! We had to also shackle him because he kept trying to kick out the windows in the car. As soon as he was under control, I staggered back to my car and slid all the way down to the ground. I had no more strength. My sergeant came over and asked me if I was all right. I told him, ‘That guy had the better of me.’ The only way I managed to survive was by God’s grace and the fact that I was fighting for my life because I have a wife and children at home.” Once they got the man to the hospital and he had tests done, they found out that he had bath salts in his system.
    One story the detective told was when they discovered a large shipment of some drug coming in through the mail to someone. (I don’t know how they discovered it.) Well, the drug dog sniffed the package at the post office and identified it. Next they got a search warrant and opened up the package. Sure enough, it was the drugs. Now, the drug task force, being the nice guys that they are, decided that it would only be right to deliver the package to its rightful owner. Det. Peavler then got to dress up as a mailman and personally deliver it. But what the man waiting for it didn’t know was who was coming to visit only a few minutes after the package had been delivered. It was the SWAT team. “They kicked the door in and took him and his drugs,” Det. Peavler told us. (I don’t know if they literally kicked his door in or not.)
    We got to hear one final story before class was over.
    “It was one of those really hot summer days in the hundreds when I pulled a car over,” Det. Peavler began. “I went up to this car and all the windows were shut tightly. The driver opened his window only a few inches and I could feel the heat coming from the car. They had the heat going full blast and I could smell the meth. Well, I got the driver and his girlfriend out of the car, handcuffed them and had them sitting by my car. Backup had arrived and another detective from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and I began to search the car. Man it was full of stuff for making meth! It was a rolling meth lab! But we had to find the stuff they were cooking. The DEA guy was searching the front and I was searching the back. The smell was getting stronger and I discovered a briefcase. When I opened it I saw the bottles of cooking meth. I turned my head and called to the DEA, ‘I’ve got it,” when the bottles exploded. I ducked, turned my head and, to this day I don’t know why I did, but I took a deep breath. Instantly I couldn’t breathe and everything was going black. An ambulance was called, but by the time they arrived I was up and walking around though it was still difficult to breathe right. They wanted to take me to the hospital, but I kept insisting I was fine. ‘You really should go to the hospital,’ they told me. ‘No, I don’t want to go.’ My sergeant said I should go, so I agreed, but I wasn’t going in an ambulance. That’s just for babies. Well, we got there and they knew I was coming. They took some x-rays and told me I was fine. I went home. The next day I was having trouble breathing again and went back to the hospital. They said I was fine and sent me home. When my sergeant stopped by to see how I was doing the next day, I told him I was still having trouble breathing right, and he insisted that I go back to the hospital. So I did. This time I was admitted. But only a day later they again said I was fine and sent me home. A few days later I again went back to the hospital and this time I didn’t get out until 28 days later. They discovered that I had burnt part of my lung and I had to go in and have surgery. I’m now missing part of my lung because of the fumes I inhaled with that deep breath when the meth bottles exploded.”
     With a few final questions, class ended and we headed for home.

    I hope you learned something from this class and will join me next week as we get to meet the K-9 team. I’m sure it will be interesting! Until then this is Rebekah.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Graham Quartet - Part 12

Hello FFFs!
It's a cloudy, rainy morning here and still pretty dark. We could use the rain as things have been dry for a little while.
This has been a crazy week since I last posted. Family Camp was a lot of fun! Telling the "Enthusiasm" story and falling off a table was delightful and I enjoyed getting out and playing kick-ball with all the other children, young people and dads even if I did get sunburned. We sure were tired when we got home Sunday afternoon. But it was well worth it.
Monday was spent trying to get ready for writing classes and taking care of other things. I was also quite stiff and sore from kick-ball (and playing soccer with some of the younger ones Sunday before lunch). We went over to my brother's for supper that night to celebrate Pickle Puss's 7th birthday! How can she be 7 already?
Tuesday I worked on other things and tried to write my report, but didn't get it done. S and I babysat the kiddos that night. I was reading a story to Doodle Bug and Funny Boy and there was a cat in the book named "Pumpkinseed." Doodle Bug, being the imaginative little boy that he is, pets the picture of the cat and says, "Hi Pun'kinsee." Then, jerking his hand back he says to me, "Oh, Pun'kinseed bite me!" It wasn't until I had told the picture of the cat that it wasn't nice to bite, that he again reached out to pat it. Then he says, "My hold Pun'kinseed," and cupping his hands together, pretends to scoop up the cat. Two year olds can be so much fun!
On Wednesday I wrote my report in the morning, but it didn't get checked until later. I taught two writing classes in the afternoon and tried to write TCR that evening. It's rather slow going right now.
Yesterday I graded papers and attended the Sheriff's Academy last night. I'm going to try to get the report ready to post this coming Wednesday.

And now here is the Graham Quartet. I do hope you are enjoying the story and aren't tired of it yet.

Graham Quartet - Part 12

“Sorry I’m a little late,” she said. “Alice and I were leaving the yarn shop, she needed another skein for the sweater she’s making, and this man stopped and asked us if the furniture factory still gave tours like it used to several years ago.”
    Dropping their books, Tim and Selena scrambled forward and leaned over the front seat. “What did you say?” Tim demanded as Elsa paused to catch her breath.
    “I said I hadn’t heard and Alice suggested that he call and find out. The man said he had tried but hadn’t be able to get through. Then he shrugged and said that he just thought he’d ask someone local since he was from out of town and had heard some time ago about tours. He remarked that he had a chair from the factory and thought it might be interesting to see how the factory operated. Alice and I said we were sorry we couldn’t help and then the man walked off.”
    “Wow!” breathed Matt. “That might be a break.”
    “Or it might mean nothing,” Selena observed.
    “True,” Elsa nodded, “But there was something about the man. Something almost familiar.”
    “Like you’d seen him before?” Tim was in danger of toppling head first into the front seat until Matt gave him a little shove back.
    Elsa looked thoughtful. “Almost, but I can’t think of where.”
    “It wasn’t Aaron Burr, was it?” Matt asked quickly.
    But Elsa shook her head. “No. I don’t think I’ve seen the man before, maybe he just looks like someone else.”
    When Elsa finished talking, there was a pause and the sounds of outside could be heard. Then Selena touched Matt’s shoulder. “You started to say something about school when Elsa came.”
    “Well, I don’t think it was anything, but I guess at this point it’s hard to tell what is important and what isn’t.”
    “What did you hear, Matt?” Tim begged, while Elsa turned questioning eyes on him.
    “Mr. Tompkins mentioned Hong Kong in social studies, but it was in relation to our lesson and—” Matt shrugged. “I made a note of it along with my other notes from class and I’ll mention it to Guy. But if we’re going to visit him tonight we’ll have to get those things picked up for Dad.”
    Elsa started the car and the others settled back. It was a silent drive to the store a few blocks away. The items on the list were quickly purchased and, though each one of the quartet kept a sharp watch for any word or face that might offer a clue to the FBI agent who was hiding in their cabin, they saw and heard nothing. It wasn’t until they were driving back home again that Tim spoke.
    “Say Matt, suppose Mr. Tompkins was giving a signal to some of the students in your class.”
    Matt turned and looked back at his brother. “What kind of a signal? For what? And which kids in my class would be involved in anything illegal?”
    “I don’t know. It was just a thought I had.”
    “It’s not a bad one,” Elsa remarked. “But I don’t think Mr. Tompkins would be involved in anything wrong.”
    “I wish we could take the car to the cabin tonight,” Matt muttered almost to himself as Elsa flipped on the blinker to turn into their lane. “It’s going to be dark by the time we get home and we’ve also got homework to do.”
    Elsa nodded. “I was thinking the same thing.”
    “Should we go in the morning?” Selena asked.
    “If we only had the brief mention in school to pass on, I’d say wait, but with the info Elsa has . . .” Matt turned to look at his siblings as the car stopped. “What do the rest of you think?”
    “I think we should go tonight,” Tim said.
    “I do too,” Elsa agreed and Selena nodded.
    “All right then. Let’s get inside and find out when we can go.”
    Mrs. Graham said it was all right with her if the quartet headed off for a while as long as homework was done before bed and it wasn’t too late when they got back. “But check with your dad first,” she told them.
    “You go, Matt,” Elsa urged. “You got Dad to agree to the three of you staying home when Guy was sick.”
    “Yeah, go ask,” Tim agreed.
    Matt smiled. “All right. But he’d probably agree if any of us asked.”
    When the question was put to him, Mr. Graham looked thoughtful for a moment. “Tell you what, Matt, I have to drive out to the Lashley place this evening to drop off some papers. If I were to leave now and take the long way there, I could drop you all off at the cabin and then pick you up on the way back. That way we all ought to be back before supper, leaving plenty of time to get your homework done.”
    “Would you, Dad? That would be great! We really need to see Guy and tell him some things. Of course we don’t know if they are important or not, but it’s something.”
    Mr. Graham nodded. “Then let’s go.”

    When Mr. Graham stopped the truck a little ways down the road from the cabin, there was not a speck of light to be seen through the trees, and Matt grabbed a flashlight from the truck. “Do you all want me to wait and make sure he’s still there?” Mr. Graham asked.
    “No thanks, Dad,” Matt replied quietly. “If he’s not there, we’ll head back home and call the Lashley’s and tell you. It’s not dark yet and I’m sure we’d make it back before it was too dark. But I’m sure he’s there. Where else would he be?”
    Mr. Graham didn’t reply but watched in silence as the Quartet began making their way towards what appeared to be a dark and deserted cabin.
    “What if he’s not there?” Tim whispered.
    “Then we’ll head home,” Matt promised softly, adding as he felt Selena grab his arm and noticed the slight trembling of her hand, “he has to make it look like no one lives there, remember.”

Do you think Guy is there?
Is there anything important about what Matt heard today?
Who is that man who talked with Elsa?
Any ideas for me?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

SCA - Class 3

SCA - Class 3

    Hello, and welcome back to class three of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Citizens’ Academy. Learning about what the law does is not only interesting, but it also helps make better citizens. Join me now for another informative and fun SCA.

    Sgt. Davis welcomed us all back and then introduced us to Sgt. Seth Chenault who was our instructor for the first half of the evening as we learned about the functions of the patrol division of the Sheriff’s department.
    There are 28 patrolmen in the division and they are divided into four different shifts. Each shift has a sergeant and a corporal along with three deputies. There is a longer work week and a shorter one, so the men rotate. I found it interesting that there is a thirty minute overlap between the nightshift and the day shift.
    “Before the county was divided into sections,” Sgt. Chenault told us, “those out on patrol would hang around the places where the most crimes took place, then, if a call came from another part of the county they’d all race over to see who could respond first. It would sometimes take thirty minutes to respond to a call. But now that the county is sectioned, each patrolman has his own area and our response time for calls is cut way down.”
    “Usually when you hear about working in law enforcement, all you hear about is the exciting, fun stuff we do. Well, it’s not all fun and excitement. There is a lot of paperwork to do too.” After nearly every call the patrolman has to fill out a report on it. Those can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one and a half hours. And if they don’t write it down on the report, it didn’t happen. So they have to make sure they are very careful about remembering things. That’s also why they pull out their little notebooks and write information down. Since all the patrol cars have audio and videos, the patrolmen can use them for reference, and also every conversation they had with dispatch is recorded so they can recheck that.
    One difference between the policemen and the deputy sheriffs is that each of the deputies on patrol has to act as a detective himself while the policemen call in detectives to work a crime scene. Since the sheriff’s department only has 12 detectives and there are an average of 45 burglaries a month, the detectives don’t have time to investigate each crime scene themselves.
    After some more talk about the duties of the patrol officer, we were taken outside and Sgt. Chenault showed us his patrol car. It was quite interesting. He showed us his computer and even logged in so we could see what some of the other patrolmen were doing. One was on a burglary and another was on his way to assist with it. Sgt. Chenault said he has his computer set to tell him everything so he doesn’t have to read it while driving. It will tell him where the house is and how to get there, along with any information he should know such as house color, if there have been crimes there before, how many people live there and so on.

    The video cameras the car has will turn on any time the lights and sirens get turned on, if the car is driven above a certain speed, or if there is a collision. And the patrolman has no ability to chang anything. Once they pull back into headquarters the video gets downloaded immediately by some device. That way if there is some dispute, there is no way the deputy could have tampered with the evidence. “It really helps keep us honest,” the Sgt. told us.
    We were shown a few other things about the car and were even shown one of the motorcycles. Sgt. Chenault said, “There is a 60% failure rate for the motorcycle test, so not many of us can drive them. You crash so many times on these things. I ended up breaking something and having to have surgery, but I passed.” He shook his head and added, “Never again would I take the test! It’s really tough.”

    Heading inside, we changed instructors for Sgt. John Hicks who is in charge of the DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) team.  He told us his passion for arresting DWIs came after he was at the scene of an accident caused by a drunk driver. The driver had crashed into a car and killed an 18-year-old girl and then was complaining because the deputy was taking him to jail. “He took her right to live away by the choices he made,” Sgt. Hicks said. “It was at that time that I became passionate about getting drunk drivers off the streets. I realize that every arrest I make may save a life.”
    After showing us a video of a DWI stop, he went over the tests they use. His favorite is the “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.” He did each of these tests on a member of the class.
    “Imagine your eyes as marbles,” he told us. “They should roll easily from one side to the other. Now, if you have been drinking, your eyes are going to become jerky and not roll smoothly when you move them to look at something. It would be as though someone sprinkled salt on the table and then tried to roll a marble across it. It wouldn’t roll very well.”
    The second test was the walk-and-turn or walking a straight line test. I got chosen to do that one. It’s not as easy as it looks to stand with your right foot directly in front of your left with your heel touching your toes then have to take 9 heel to toe steps, turn on your left foot and take 9 steps back, but I was told I did very well. (Whew!)
    The one-leg stand was the next test. That’s pretty easy. Well, for the most part anyway. “I always ask if the person has any trouble with their legs, ankles or back before I start the tests,” Sgt. Hicks said. “Because if they do have a problem, they may not be able to do the test.”
    If for some reason the person can’t do the walk-and-turn test or the one-leg stand, they might be given one of the other tests. Can you say the alphabet from E-P? (Most drunks can’t.) Can you count backwards from 77-56? (Drunks haven’t a clue how to do it. They can’t focus on anything.)
    Sgt. Hicks then went over how expensive it can be if you get just one DWI arrest. The fine itself is $1,000.00 not to mention the bond of $1,500.00 -$3,500.00 just to ensure that you will be at court, the attorney fees which start at $1,500.00, plus your rise in insurance and all the other things you may have to pay for. It’s really expensive! So, my advice to you is stay far away from drinking anything which could intoxicate!
    The last thing we did in class was to try on the “intoxicating glasses.” (I’m not sure what he called them, but that’s pretty much what they were.) When you wear them it looks like it would look if you were intoxicated to the lowest level. Boy, does it make things strange! He had us all take turns trying them on and then walking across the room. No one could walk straight! You think you are going straight, but the room seems to turn and the floor moves. No wonder drunk drivers are all over the road!
    Here is a little tid-bit of information for you. On a Friday or Saturday night, one out of every seven cars you see on the road is driven by an impaired driver. And that is everywhere across the U.S.
    Our class ended at 9:00 and shortly after that, we headed home.

    I hope you have enjoyed this informative class and will come back next week as we learn about dangerous drugs. Until then, this is Rebekah. Thanks for joining me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Late Post

Sorry, the SCA report post is late. I've been busy and haven't gotten it written yet. I'll try to post it later today or tomorrow. So check back again.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Graham Quartet - Part 11

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans!
I don't have much time to sit and chat with you all this time as I have to pack for our church's Family Camp. We are leaving to do the shopping for the kitchen in an hour or so, and I really haven't even started packing. But it shouldn't take too long.
How was your week? Was it as crazy as mine?
On Saturday I did yard work in the morning and inside things in the afternoon.
Sunday nearly everyone was at church so there was lots of visiting, and a nap in the afternoon was delightful.
Monday and Tuesday were spent working on preparing to tell the "Enthusiasm" story to the kids this weekend, preparing for my first writing classes this fall, writing my Sheriff's Academy report, working on TCR and other things.
Writing classes were Wednesday.
And yesterday was all the last minute gathering of things we'll need at camp and printing signs, and figuring out all those things that we hadn't had time to think about before. Then Dad and I had the next Sheriff's Citizen's Academy class last night. Come back on Wednesday to see what we did and hear how I did taking the "straight line" test during the DWI part of class. :)

And now enjoy the Graham Quartet. So, what do you think of this story anyway?
Graham Quartet - Part 11

    “Roger that. Can you scramble? 10-17.”
    For a moment Guy turned and glanced at the wide eyed quartet. He knew there was little they would miss of this conversation, and he wished the call hadn’t come in until they had left. As it was, however, there was little he could do. Turning back to the microphone, he pushed a button and replied, “Standing by.”
    Then came the strangest message the Graham Quartet had ever heard. “Farmer received word that the hens are laying again, but the hounds are getting closer. Need confirmation. Over.”
    “10-4. Nothing to report yet. Will contact soon. Over and out.”
    “Roger that. Over and out.”
    Standing quietly, Guy Fox pulled the blanket back over the radio and returned to his chair. Every eye was fastened on him but no one said a word until he had resumed his seat.
    Then Tim asked, “You having roast chicken for supper?”
    Guy smiled slightly. “I wish.” He sighed. “I wish you hadn’t heard that message, but since you did, all I am going to say is that things might start happening fast. And I’m going to need your help since I can’t get out and about.” Guy’s tone was serious and his face was grave. “I need every bit of information you all can get about the furniture factory outside of town. Even if it seems insignificant such as times of shipments, orders placed, wood used, anything. Memorize everything you hear and who said it! Also, if you should hear anything about Vanderbilt, Astor, Siam or Hong Kong,” Guy’s words were clipped and short, “it’s important that I hear about it at once. And should you see anyone that so much as resembles Aaron Burr in the least, let me know! I can’t tell you how important this is, but I am trusting each of you.” His keen dark eyes gazed steadily at each member of the quartet for a moment before moving on. His voice grew lower, “I’m not the only one who is trusting you.”
    A dead stillness settled over the cabin room save for the soft snap of the flames dancing on the logs in the fireplace. Each person sat in silent thought, the Quartet realizing for perhaps the first time that this was bigger than anything they had ever gotten themselves into before; Guy on the other hand was debating with himself if he should really ask these four young people to risk themselves to bring him the information he needed. Would it be better to tell them to forget the whole thing and try to do it himself? But how could he find out what he needed to know? It might endanger the entire operation.
    Into the midst of the silence came Matt’s low but steady voice. “Guy.”
    The agent looked up.
    “Whenever we get into difficult situations, we pray.”
    Drawing a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Guy straightened in his chair. “So do I. What do you say we spend some time on our knees about this whole thing?”

    Rising from their knees twenty minutes later with a feeling of relief that they were not in this alone, the Quartet began donning their winter garments in preparation for their trek back to their home. Before the door was opened, Guy shook hands with each one and cautioned, “Whatever you do, be careful!”
    “We will,” Elsa assured him. “You be careful too.”
    Guy smiled and nodded.

    It was Monday morning and three of the Graham Quartet had school to attend in town. They had all been in town the day before for church, but there had been no talk about the factory or any mention of the words Guy Fox had told them to listen for. Today would be their first time to try and discover something. If they could.
    “Mom,” Elsa said, as she and Selena brought the dirty dishes to the sink. “What would you think if I drove the others into town for school and then brought them home later? I’ve been wanting to visit Alice Swan and she mentioned yesterday that she’d be home today.”
    “I think that would be fine unless your father needs the car.”
    “Do you, Dad?” Matt asked, turning to his father.
    Mr. Graham shook his head. “Not today. But if you’ll have the car, do you four mind stopping by the store after school to pick up a few things?”
    “Of course not, Dad,” Elsa smiled while the other three exchanged quick glances. “But Matt, Selena and Tim had better get their books before I leave without them.” Elsa laughed and winked as her father handed her his car keys.
    “Just be careful with all that snow,” Mrs. Graham cautioned, kissing each of her children as they pulled on their coats and grabbed their stacks of books.
    “We will, Mom,” Matt told her. “Don’t worry.”
    Once everyone was in the car and Elsa was driving carefully towards town, Matt spoke. “That was considerate of Dad to give us an excuse to stick around town a little while after school.”
    “Do you think we’ll learn anything, Matt?” Tim asked. “Anything of importance, I mean.”
    Matt shrugged. “I don’t know. We’ll go in with our ears and eyes open and see what happens.”

    The day in school dragged for Tim and Selena who found it difficult to keep their minds on their studies. It wasn’t as hard for Matt since he had always loved his books, but at last the day was over and the three siblings hurried to meet Elsa.
    After climbing in and shutting the car doors, Matt turned to the backseat where the two youngest sat and asked, “Did either of you hear anything?”
    They both shook their head. “Not a thing,” Tim sighed. “Did you?”
    Matt shook his head thoughtfully. “I don’t think so—”
    Just then the driver’s door opened and Elsa slid in. “Sorry I’m a little late,” she said.

What do you make of the radio message?
Have you heard anyone mention those words
Vanderbilt, Astor, Siam or Hong Kong lately?
Any other thoughts, ideas or questions?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

SCA - Class 2

SCA - Class 2

    Hello and welcome back to the second class of the SCA!

    Arriving at the Sheriff’s department a little before 6:30, Dad and I were let in “the back way” by a Sergeant. It was rather fun to see where the call center used to be. (Now it’s been moved to the County’s 9-1-1 center to save time and money.)
    Our first instructor for the evening was Corporal Matt Terry. He works in the Courts Division as does the Sgt. who came in with us. I had never known much about the role the Sheriff’s department played in the courtrooms and courthouses until I attended this class.
    One duty is the Courtroom Bailiff. You may think, as I did, that the Bailiff’s job is to keep order in the courtroom and take out anyone who is disrupting things. His job is much more than that! His first and foremost duty is to protect the judge. (That makes sense: no judge, no court.) His second duty is to make sure that everyone during a court session is safe. That means he has to protect the employees of the courtroom (prosecution, defense and clerks) as well as the public such as witnesses, defendants or even inmates who have been brought in. When court is not is session, the Bailiff’s duties continue with such things as contacting all the jurors for duty, responding to any incident with the courthouse, and “panic alarms” within the building. You may be asking what a “panic alarm” is. Well, it’s a movable alarm that can be placed anywhere and if there is a possible need for deputies, the button gets pushed which will then send a message through the radio telling which room of the courthouse the button was when it was pushed. “Most of the time,” Cpl. Terry told us, “the button gets pushed by accident. You know, the secretary will have it under her desk and bump it with her knee. Well, someone has to respond anyway.” The Bailiffs are also “cross-trained” (to use the Corporal’s own words) to help with the two other court divisions. When we were learning about the Bailiffs, we were shown a video of a shootout that happened in a small town in TX.
    A reporter was in the courthouse during a court-session when suddenly loud pops were heard. It took everyone a moment to realize that it was someone shooting outside! The Bailiff’s first response was to grab on to the defendant and pull him to the floor. Everyone else quickly ducked behind anything available, except the reporter. He went to the window. (They were on the second floor.) Outside was a man with a gun shooting. It turns out that his wife was getting a divorce and he just lost it. He ended up shooting his wife and son as they tried to run to the courthouse for protection. The police, with handguns, tried to take care of the guy, but he just kept knocking them down. A call for backup went out and a sharpshooter grabbed his gun and headed out. He was the only one with something larger than a handgun. He knew that he had to get the guy before there were more causalities. As they neared the town square, he climbed on the hood of the police car with his gun held in readiness while another officer drove. (“I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Cpl. Terry remarked.) They were too late, however, for the man had just jumped into his truck and was making a get-away. The officer jumped into the car and a 6 to 1 car chase was on! The officer knew that if he could just get close enough to get a clear shot, he could take out the man, but there were other cars in the way. At last one police car narrowed the gap and the man began shooting. The policeman returned the shots before rear-ending the truck and then pulling off. The man jumped from his truck with his gun and continued shooting at the policeman. This was just what the sharpshooter was waiting for. In a moment he was beside the road and in another the man was down with one shot to the back of the head.
    Cpl. Terry told us, “Don’t tell me that couldn’t happen here. We’d all like to think it couldn’t, but in reality, it could. That’s the mindset we have to take everyday as we go to work. Our jobs may seem slow and unimportant, but we never know when something like that is going to happen and we have to be ready for it.”
    We heard who the judges were and who their Bailiffs were (I didn’t realize that each judge has one Bailiff.), and the Commissioner who works in the family court and also has a Bailiff. The Family Court handles all family cases such as adult & child orders, divorces and such. The judge does have to give his okay to finalize things, but it’s the Commissioner’s job to figure things out first.
    Next we heard about the Courthouse Security. They are the ones relied on to keep all the employees of the courthouse safe as well as everyone who enters. They conduct the safety checks of the courthouse, they also check everyone who comes in so that they can deter any possible threats. So, the next time you have to go to the courthouse and have to leave all your knives behind and have your purse checked, be grateful those deputies are there!
    Once we got to Civil Process, it was all new to me. These deputies may work more behind the scenes, but they have their full share of danger and responsibility! They take and deliver papers all over the county. Sometimes the papers are warrants, sometimes they are restraining orders, sometimes they are other things, but in most cases, no one wants them showing up on their doorsteps! Here’s a quick list of some of the things they do.
* Levy: When someone owes money (perhaps to the court) the deputy has a paper saying he is to seize a certain thing. Then that item (let’s say a car) gets stored someplace until it gets sold and the money that was paid is then turned over to the one waiting for payment.
* Replevin: That is turning over some property to a filing petitioner. (Maybe the person didn’t finish paying for their car and the car lot wants it back.)
* Ex-Parte: Those are adult and child restraining orders or taking the children to the other parent if the judge so ruled.
* Eviction: I don’t think I have to explain that one.
* Subpoena: A written order to appear in court.
* Garnishment: The deputy goes to a bank and closes out someone’s account for certain reasons.
    Years ago all those delivering these papers traveled in their own cars and were not in uniform. Our former sheriff changed all that. Now they drive sheriff’s cars and wear uniforms, though sometimes they will wear plain clothes so as not to be quite so conspicuous. “One guy,” Sgt. Davis told us, “always wears plain clothes and delivers flowers with the paper. He’s never had someone refuse to answer the door.”

    We took a five minute break then to stretch and enjoy some snacks before we learned about the crimes against animals.
    Deputy Maggard was our speaker then and he told us, “I don’t mind talking one on one, but talking up here scares me to death!” This part of the class was a lot more informal and there were many questions. “We are the only Sheriff’s Department in the state who has an Animal Control unit,” he told us. And Deputy Maggard is it.
    Unlike the cities which have animal ordinances, the county only follows the Missouri state laws concerning animals. Dep. Maggard informed us that he will not pick up animals (he gets lots of calls for stray dogs) unless the animal has bitten someone and they need to watch it. If there is a dog that is killing your chickens and you call the sheriff’s department, Dep. Maggard will tell you, “Shoot it.” The law says that if an animal is on your property and causing damage or making you feel threatened, you have the right to hunt it down and shoot it, even if it is your neighbor’s dog, unless your neighbor has put it on a chain or in a kennel. “Now,” the deputy told us, “I wouldn't recommend that you go and shoot the animal on your neighbor’s property though you can shoot it on your own. Then bury it and don’t tell anyone.” (Don’t try this in the city because they have different laws.) If the neighbors find out and try to sue you, you’ll win because of the state law.
    Another common call is neglect of horses. Some lady bought two horses because it was “the thing” to have horses at your place, but she didn’t know a thing about them and when the deputy arrived they were nothing but skin and bones. He threatened to take the lady to jail (He can take people to jail for 24 hours, but he can’t do anything else.) and she said he could have the horses. Now the deputy can’t take animals himself, but he had some friends who had agreed to take any horses that needed new homes. So he made arrangements to come take the horses on Saturday. On Friday, the horses were listed on Craig’s list and a couple of teenagers from another part of the county came and got them. They also knew nothing about horses and put them in a pasture with lots of grass and hay. By Monday they were both dead. (So if you are going to get a horse, make sure you know what you’re doing.) We heard about the monkeys that someone had living in their house, about the alligators, snakes, foxes and skunks. We also heard that there is one older lady who has 30 indoor dogs and 20 outdoor dogs! Can you imagine that many dogs around? And he also told us about another older lady who has, yes, this is true, 70 small, indoor dogs! “It was cleaner outside than inside,” he told us. (Now, I like dogs, but that’s too many!)
    There was lots of other talk about animals. Deputy Maggard told us that he always carries barb wire in his truck just in case there are cows on the road. He’ll put them back in a field and fix the fence before he leaves his bright pink paper on the gate telling the owners what happened.
    Sgt. Davis laughed then and told us that there were cattle on the road one time when he was driving by. “I didn’t want to stop and try to get them in the field, so I just turned on my lights and sirens and headed straight towards them. They got off the road in a hurry!” There you go, a new way to herd cattle. :)

    Class was officially dismissed at 8:45, but the Sgt. said he had the newest car outside if anyone wanted to see it. (The newest car for the department.) Dad and I, along with half a dozen other members of class, went out to take a look. The look turned into thirty-five minutes of talking. It was quite interesting. Did you know that since most patrol cars now have computers in them, when a 9-1-1 call goes out, it first goes over the radio, but then the details get sent by computer to those responding so that no one else can find out about it? And did you know that most patrolmen are taught to rely not on braking during a car chase, but on letting up on the gas and letting the car slow itself down? Then they still have brakes to stop the car when the bad guy’s brakes burn out.
    There were many other things, little tid bits of information that we learned before we headed for home. It had been an enjoyable as well as very informative evening.

    And that brings our second class to a close. Join me next week as we learn about the functions of a Patrol Officer, participate in traffic stop simulations and learn about DWIs. Until then, this is Rebekah.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Graham Quartet - Part 10

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans!
Can you believe it is September already? It just doesn't seem possible that the year is this far gone. It feels like just a few weeks ago that we had to start writing 2013 and now it's September and another school year.

Speaking of a new school year, I'm getting ready to start teaching my writing classes again next week. I'm looking forward to it. Most of the time I enjoy teaching, though there are a few times when I'm ready to just quit. :) But that's probably the same for any job no matter how much you love it.

I've been trying to get lots of writing done, but I haven't gotten as much as I would have liked. You all can keep praying for ideas for Triple Creek Ranch - Book 2 because I have until the end of this month to get it finished.

Last night's Sheriff's Citizens' Academy class was interesting. I learned things that I'd never known or never really thought about before, so I hope you'll stop by on Wednesday to read all about it.

And until then, enjoy this next part of

Graham Quartet - Part 10

    At last, having grown cold and and hungry, they climbed on the sleds once more, took their lunches and snowshoes and flew down the slope. The tramp across the field and to the cabin took no more than a few minutes. Upon arrival, the quartet noticed that the only sign of life was the delightful smell of a fire. They unstrapped their snowshoes and Matt gave the signal knock, five quick raps and then two slow ones.
    Instantly the door was opened and a smiling Guy welcomed them in. “I’ve been waiting for over an hour for the four of you to pay me a visit. Decided to make a good show of sledding, did you? Or is it really good sledding?”
    “Both,” Tim and Matt answered at once, pulling off their boots.
    Guy grinned. “It looked and sounded like fun. Took me back to my own childhood days of sledding. If it weren’t for this leg and a few other things, I just might have joined you. Now, get those wet things off, set yourselves before the fire and let’s have lunch. Matt, before you take your coat off . . .” Guy looked at Matt. “Would you—”
    “Sure thing. I just thought of it. Be right back.”
    “Where is he going?” Selena asked watching her oldest brother disappear outside once more.
    “Where would he go if I weren’t here?” Guy asked her, with a keen look.
    “Of course, he would have to get wood,” and Selena smiled. She turned to look at their friend. “I’m not as good a detective as the rest of them are.”
    Matt soon returned with a large armload of wood and in another minute had joined the group about the bright fire while the girls passed out the lunch.
    “So, how many questions do you have for me today?” Guy asked.
    The quartet exchanged quick glances and, as Elsa reached into her pocket, Tim asked, “How did you know we had questions?”
    “Because I would have if I were in your shoes. I only gave you a little information yesterday in hopes that you would notice what I didn’t tell you.”
    “I don’t know if we noticed everything,” Matt said. “But we did come up with some things.”
    Elsa began reading their list. “How often should we visit? What sort of conversations should we pay attention to and memorize? What information should we bring you? Do you want any information written down or brought by word of mouth? Should we try to find out information for you or just tell you if we hear anything? Is there anyone else we should be watching for besides the man in the picture? Is there a name we should call the man? Some code name? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to come to the cabin at different times each day?” Reaching the end of their list, Elsa looked up. “That was all we had thought of for now.”
    Guy began to laugh. “I was right, you four don’t miss much!” He held out his hand for the list. “Now, let me see if I can’t answer a few of these questions.” Rapidly he scanned the list, nodding now and then and pausing with a slight frown once. At last he spoke. “Great idea to come at different times of the day and always use the secret knock! But wait,” he paused in thought. “We ought to have two knocks; one for everyday use and one if it’s very important.” He thought for a moment and then asked, “Do you all happen to know Morse Code?”
    The Quartet’s eyes lit up. “Sure we do,” Matt said quickly. “That’s one of the first things we learned.”
    Guy nodded. “Good. Then use the SOS Morse code for the emergency knock. That way you won’t have to learn anything new and you can remember it if you’re in a hurry. Now what else?” He turned back to the paper in his hand. “How often should you come? That’s a bit harder to answer. Certainly come if you have something to report, but unless you do, I don’t think it would be wise to come every day. It would be too obvious if anyone was watching. Code name for the man in the picture? Not a bad idea. Any suggestions?” He looked about at the silent group gathered about the fireplace.
    “I think that if he’s a bad guy we should call him . . .” Tim paused and looked about the room with a glint of a smile in his eyes. “Aaron Burr,” he finished.
    “That’s because you’re studying about him in school,” Elsa laughed.
    Tim shrugged. “So. You have any other ideas?”
    No one had and Guy remarked in a thoughtful manner, “That’s actually not a bad name for him. In fact, I like it; good idea, Tim. What next? These last questions are a bit harder to answer. As far a bringing me information, word of mouth would be safer, but if you have to write things down to remember them, create some code or only write down enough info for you to remember but which won’t tell anyone else who may chance to see it anything.
    “Now, as far as the info, conversations and such that I’m needing—” the FBI agent leaned back in his chair and stretched out his legs while staring thoughtfully into the fire. “That’s a bit harder.” It was a bit tricky to gather information through another person who didn’t even know what was going on. There was a very fine line between enough information and too much.
    Into the silence that followed Guys’s words, came a sudden crackle and a strange, slightly scratchy voice saying, “Farmer to Henhouse. Farmer to Henhouse. Come in Henhouse.”
    At the first crackle, Guy sprang to his feet, and limped quickly across the room, threw back a blanket revealing a small radio and picked up a microphone. “This is Henhouse. 10-12. Over.”
    “Roger that. Can you scramble? 10-17.”

So, what do you think?
Have any questions or thoughts?
Did you like this part?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SCA - Class 1

SCA - Class 1

    Welcome to the Sheriff’s Citizens’ Academy (SCA). Thanks for joining me, my name is Rebekah and I’ll be your guide as we attend the SCA this fall. I hope you are ready for a great time because the schedule is full of interesting topics and exciting, hands-on experiences! Come with me now for the first class.

    Arriving at the sheriff’s department, Dad and I walked in and joined several others at the tables. When the late comers arrived we had a good sized group of 14 (and three participants couldn’t make it that night). Sgt. Craig Davis informed us later that last year’s fall class had only three people attending it. He said, “I was thinking of not holding one in the fall any more, but the sheriff urged me to do one more. I’m glad I did.” (So are we, Sergeant.)
    After briefly introducing himself, the Sgt. called Sheriff Randee Kaiser up. (I’d met Sheriff Kaiser a few times before since I’d been involved with political campaigns last fall and helped him get elected.) The sheriff had us all introduce ourselves and after I had finished he asked, “You couldn’t get Jimmy (my brother) to come?” I shook my head. “Why not?” When I told him he was too busy, he just shook his head a little sadly.
    As soon as introductions were over, the sheriff told a little about his background and how he came to be working with law enforcement when he had a degree in photo journalism. It was the encouragement of a former sheriff that finally made him try for a position and he got the job. I guess that just goes to show that you don’t have to have a degree in criminal justice to become a sheriff!
    Sheriff Kaiser told us, “The first thing I did after taking office was to assemble those working in the department and told them what three things I was expecting of them. Well, I could only get half of them in the room on January 2nd, the other half I told on the 3rd.” The first thing he expected of every emploee in the sheriff’s department is work. “That’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you come to work for an eight-hour shift, I expect you to work a full eight hours.”
    Second was that all persons were to be treated with respect: fellow members of the department, citizens, even the guys you have to bring in. “There were some incredulous looks when I mentioned treating even criminals with respect, but I mean it,” the sheriff said. “Now there are times when there is a situation that requires physical force to take care of someone, but once the person is in handcuffs and the situation is neutralized, we don’t yell at the person, we don’t shout at him and shove him around, we go back to treating him with respect and dignity.”
    The third thing was not to do anything to make the sheriff’s department look bad. “Think about it,” Sheriff Kaiser said, “if your neighbor down the street who works in a factory gets into a fist fight at the bar one night, are you going to think twice about it? Probably not. But suppose a deputy sheriff who is off duty gets into a fist fight at the bar, what then?” It’s true, that badge stands for something to honor and respect, whether or not the person who wears it is on duty or not.
    Then we got a little history of the sheriff’s department and how it has changed over the years from a political position until the 50s, to the 60s-80s where the sheriff only responded to calls, and then from the 90s to now where many sheriffs are working towards community policing and getting connected with the people in the counties.
    Do you know what invention was the most influential in separating the sheriff from the citizens? If you guessed the automobile, you are correct. Think about it. Before they had cars, the sheriff and deputies walked. (Remember the stories you used to read about the policeman walking his beat?) The lawmen would stop and chat with people. Mr. Smith might tell him about the two young guys who hung around in the alley behind his store everyday at three o’clock and that he was sure they were up to no good. Well, the sheriff would then just happen to be passing the alley about three o’clock and see the fellows messing around. He might give them a lecture and send them home. After they started driving cars, it wasn’t easy to just stop and chat with people. They might still wave, at least until those dark tinted windows came along. Sheriff Kaiser does not like tinted windows and any new vehicles that come to the sheriff’s department while he’s in office will not be getting them! I second that. I’ve never liked vehicles that have such dark windows that you can’t see if anyone is even in them.
    Since there is such distance between the sheriffs of today and the citizens, Sheriff Kaiser has devised a plan to remedy the situation. He has already tried it out in a part of the county (the part with the highest crime rate) with great success. Each deputy working the designated area was given 10 houses along his route. At each of these houses, he stopped and knocked on the door, introduced himself and asked if there was anything that he could help them with. Was anything concerning them? Had anything been happening that brought them worry? On one lane, every person the deputy talked to complained about a business at the end of the road, saying that those coming or going would speed on the street. The residents were concerned for the safety of their children and pets. So, the deputy walked down and talked to the owner of the business. The owner immediately said that was not something that he would tolerate and at once told him employees that if they wanted to keep their jobs there was to be no more speeding. Problem solved.
    “The crime rate in the area that we did has dropped 60%,” Sheriff Kaiser told us. “And the fear of crimes has dropped 31%.” Hmm, what would happen if every sheriff and deputy started making contact with the residents in their patrol?
    Just what does the sheriff’s department do? Well, here is a quick list. I won’t go into much detail as that would take too long.
* Staff and manage the jail
* Answer calls for service 24/7
* Are the security for two Courthouses
* Are bailiffs for six courtrooms
* Serve or deliver court orders such as summons and subpoenas
* Go and get wanted criminals from every state in the nation (That’s a lot of traveling!)
* Take prisoners to and from prison
* Organize the Neighborhood Watch and Safety programs (There’s that connecting with the citizens again.)
* Provide services for schools like D.A.R.E and SRO
* They also organize and participate in different task forces and law enforcement coalitions. (It doesn’t sound like those in the sheriff’s department just sit around all day waiting for someone to call them.)
    One of the task forces the Jasper County Sheriff’s department is involved in is called The Tri-State Major Case Squad.
    Picture this: A major crime has just been committed in the county. The sheriff and his deputies have rushed to the scene but there are so many clues, so many leads, so many things to do, and so few people to do it that it’s going to take days, weeks even to scratch the surface. What do they do? They put in a call to the Tri-State Major Case Squad. Within an hour they have 70 detectives on the scene from the surrounding counties including counties in Kansas and Oklahoma. Now suddenly all those clues, all those leads, all those things to do can be done in a very short amount of time. I could tell you a story about how it actually worked. Would you like that?
    In Jasper county a double homicide (That’s a murder for those of you who don’t know.) was committed, the car stolen and the house set on fire. There were no leads. Nothing to go off of. The couple who was killed had been well liked, had been a part of the community and it made no sense that someone would do this. Well, the call went out for help and soon detectives and deputies were everywhere. They began to knock on neighbor’s doors and ask questions, trying to find a lead, a clue, anything. At last it was discovered that a year ago, the murdered couple had let a lady live in their house for a while. It was also discovered that the lady and her son had moved several blocks away. With nothing else to go on, two deputies paid the house a visit. Upon asking for the lady, they were told that yes, she did live there but wasn’t at home right then. They asked to speak with her son in hopes of uncovering something. “He’s not here either,” the person at the door replied, and then added, “but that’s him coming down the sidewalk.”
    The deputies turned and saw the young man approaching with a toolbox in his hand. Quickly they stepped off the porch and started walking towards the guy. “Excuse us, we’d like to talk to you a minute,” they said to the young man.
    The man looked up, turned on his heel and began to walk away. (“Now that’s what we call a clue,” Sheriff Kaiser told us.) It turns out that the toolbox the man was carrying was full of rings and jewelry that had been stolen before the house had been set on fire.
    If there had not been so many detectives working on the case, it would have taken at least two weeks before they could have made that connection, and who knows where that person would have been by then. (Sorry, the sheriff didn’t tell us if the young man was the only one involved or the reason he had for committing the murder.)
    There was more talk about the department and what they do. We talked about Conceal and Carry, about K-9s and other things which we will cover in other classes. We ended around 8:30 this time instead of 9:00. People stood around and visited a bit before we all headed for home.

    I hope you have enjoyed this first report. I know it is rather long, but I could have made it longer. I hope you will join me next week as we explore the Operations of our Court House and take a look at crimes against animals. Until next time, this is Rebekah. Thanks for joining me.