July 5, 1994 – I start telling cops where to go, and sometimes how to get there

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Jimmie1

A few years into my career with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

July 5, 1994  That was the first day I walked into the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office building as an employee.  Twenty one years ago today, I thought “this will be a breeze!”.  Little did I know…

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Missouri Sheriff puts “IN GOD WE TRUST” on every patrol car

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Photo: Valerie Mosley/News-Leader

Jim Arnott is the Sheriff of Greene County, Missouri.  He recently had “IN GOD WE TRUST” lettering added to about 100 patrol cars because, as he said, “I like it“.

I became aware of this through the Facebook page “Sheriff Deputies“, when they posted the picture to the news feed. Disappointingly, it’s getting a lot of approval from others.  Few seem to understand, or even care, why it is highly inappropriate for this kind of religious proselytizing to exist in a government agency.

Our own community has recently had issues with law enforcement lending it’s imprimatur to a purely religious ceremony, and many are defending the decision of government officials to attend.  Here, they’ve dismissed the connection with the keynote speaker, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, a designated hate group, as inconsequential.  The Sheriff told the Visalia Times Delta that he didn’t “get any detailed information about Perkins and his reported agenda until after he and his command staff left”.  At least the Sheriff here is claiming ignorance of Perkins and his agenda, but the Missouri Sheriff is more direct in his statements.

Sheriff Arnott has unilaterally decided that his religious beliefs can be displayed on government property as he sees fit.  Since most people in his area are Christians, few see any problem with the idea.  They seem to view the idea of the long-established legal concept of separation of church and state to mean government cannot intrude on religion, but religion is free to intrude and impose on government.

A person who had questioned the wording on patrol cars garnered this reaction from Sheriff Arnott:

I’m guessing she is offended by it. If that’s the case. I’m hoping that she does not use any of our currency either.”

U.S. currency carries the legend “In God We Trust.”

Many city councils, county supervisors chambers, and other government structures have “IN GOD WE TRUST” prominently displayed, and it’s pretty much impossible to find elected officials, or even bureaucrats, who are willing to challenge the placement of clearly religious wording in government facilities.  The Supreme Court didn’t help matters by ruling in favor of those who want religion wrapped around their government.

I find it disappointing that so many are content to allow government to grant a seal of approval to religious dogma, in clear violation of the idea that it should be completely neutral when it comes to such matters.  They’re quite happy with the mixing of church and state, as long as it’s their church.  I wonder how complacent they would be if it said “ALLAHU AKBAR”? Or “IN VISHNU WE TRUST”?  Changing the name of the god should make it clear why any of them are inappropriate.  If the Sheriff and his deputies want such sentiments on the cars they drive, let them put them on their own vehicles.  Patrol cars are not the place to, as we LGBT advocates have been accused of doing every time we talk about rights, “shove it down our throats” in public.

A Ghost of Christmas Past

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Christmas time in dispatch, circa 2001.  I’m in my early 40’s here.  10-4

Keep those doggies rollin’

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Tonight we gave Sgt. Whaley a proper radio send-off, as he leaves us to begin a new career as a cattleman in Texas.

Good luck and best wishes in the Lone Star State!

AngusCattle

I think his name was Murphy

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murphys_law

Sometimes the universe conspires to bring together a multiplicity of situations, each of which would be a minor problem on it’s own, but when combined create potential for deadly mayhem.  Last night I experienced that perfect storm, and it could end badly. Here’s a list of the things that could go wrong, and did:  He didn’t call on a 9-1-1 line, and he didn’t speak English. Once a translator was on the line, he didn’t mention the single most important fact of the situation, or the translator failed to properly understand the emergency.  He started off asking to speak to a particular officer, but mangled the name so badly that I had no clue who he was referring to, and wasted precious time trying to figure out who he might have meant.  After much too much time was wasted on what would turn out to be unimportant details, he got around to explaining the problem. I about fell out of my chair once I understood what he was trying to convey.  I was yelling for an ambulance to start, getting deputies responding code 3, and basically cursing him and the translator (to myself, never out loud) for beating around the bush when speed was of the essence.

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July 5, 1994 – Communications Operator I

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I walked into the building at 7am, July 5, 1994, for the first time as an employee.  Communications Operator I.  Three months of training lay ahead, and a year’s worth of probation.  The place was the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the room was in the basement, in a space originally designed to be a gymnasium / weight lifting room.  As of today, I’ve put in 20 years in that cramped space.

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I’m entering William Shatner’s contest

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I first became aware of William Shatner in 1972.  I was in 8th grade, and  a new local television station was airing reruns of 60’s television programs, including a “Wagon Train to the stars”.  Every day after school I would get home, burn through my homework, and be ready to watch when it came on.  I would have watched it in prime time during it’s time on network television, but Dad had control of the one TV in the house, and he was a western show guy.  I never had a chance back then!

My teen years included daily sessions with Mr. Shatner and the crew, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen each episode.  Bill has been a fixture in my life, and I’d love to have a chance to see him in person.

I live in Visalia, California, just down the road from property he once owned (or still does?) in Three Rivers.  I would hear stories from locals who had met him, and was always a bit envious.  (I’ve worked at the Sheriff’s Department 9-1-1 dispatch for 20 years, and got to hear some stories from the resident deputy and his wife.  Having him host a show about 9-1-1 was icing on the cake!)

At any rate, Mr. Shatner, I’d love to meet the man behind the characters.  I’ve heard it’s a great show, and I look forward to being in the audience.

Contact me, Jim Reeves,  at jim.visalia@gmail.com  I’m on Twitter as @KC6YRU, and have been a follower of Mr. Shatner on Twitter for some time now.

(fingers crossed)

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