Law enforcement deserves our appreciation
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 9:00 PM
Let's hear it for the men and women in blue and brown. I'm talking about our law enforcement officers.
They should have our undying loyalty and appreciation.
Since I first covered a news story involving police in 1973 through today I have found police to be extremely helpful and in only one occasion during those years have I had a disagreement with an officer.
That disagreement, on a Saturday following the shooting of a man who was allegedly attacking an officer, is the one exception. And in that case, I harbored no ill will; the officer and I shook hands and we went our separate ways. He had his job to do and I had mine.
I have received many comments on that situation but now I would like to focus on the other side of the coin.
Last weekend, when John Minor covered a fire at a local pharmacy, he found the police to be extremely cooperative. That has always been my experience, too.
I can tell you a couple funny instances that happened to me over the years.
Many years ago the Montgomery County Emergency Management Department received a grant to buy two-way radios.
Dave Kadinger, the director, called me up and asked if I would like to have one installed in my truck. Of course I would!
It was a two-way radio not just a receiver.
That year a heavy snow blanketed the county and I was stuck in the middle of S.R. 47 trying to get to Crawfordsville from Waveland.
I called on the two-way but got no response. I thought I would be in trouble for unauthorized use of the emergency radio bands. Come to find out, the police said I did exactly the right thing but they couldn't hear my weak signal at police dispatch.
Later, I covered an accident on U.S. 136 West. When I got back to the office, I was just getting out of my truck when a deputy came on the radio and said, "Have a good day, Frank."
Not too long ago I was caught driving a little too fast on U.S. 231. I knew the officer who pulled me over and normally I would have joked with him, but he was all business and I thought I should be, too.
He took my license, ran it through his computer, and brought it back to me with a stern warning.
"Yes, sir!" I said in all seriousness.
Then, as he pulled away he looked at me with a big grin on his face and a wave.
I think I was had.
When Alan Plunkett was assistant police chief, there was an incident that required a SWAT team.
I've always been a bulldog about getting information for a story and finally, the police dispatcher told me to wait and someone would come and give me the story.
It was after 10 p.m. but here came Alan, in his civilian clothes, probably leaving a recliner in his living room because, "Frank won't wait until tomorrow" to get his story.
He gave me the story with a big smile on his face and in all good humor. Better humor than the other reporter in the "news conference" who had not been at the incident scene and would have been happy to wait until a press release came out.
So, my appreciation is extended to the police officers and dispatchers of all departments. They are on our side.
I have a job to do but they have a job to do, too.
Frank Phillips first began doing news on a regular basis on WLCC-FM and WPRC-AM-FM in Lincoln, Ill., in 1970. His first newscast was to read news copy during half time of a high school football game. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org>