Sheriff Porter 20
Most homicides are solved in the first 48 hours. I think that must be in big city police departments. Just the lag time between homicide detectives and outside agencies make that impossible for rural agencies. Add to that the lack of qualified career law enforcement officers and you have an idea why rural homicides take longer or never get solved. That also explains why the SBI inserts itself wherever possible.
The latter was attempting to happen, when I awoke the next morning. The excuse Morris was using was the expanding nature of the jurisdiction issues. I went over her head and called Mission. When I got the message from West, upon my arrival at the courthouse, I made the call.
“Come on Mission we are making arrests and interrogating people as we speak. You know Eddie Simpson is a qualified investigator and he is on the case,” I said.
“And we know you are an inexperienced law enforcement officer with a history of animosity toward the SBI. Justified or not, they take that in consideration when making this kind of decision.” she said.
“Okay, tell you what you do honey. You pass this on to your superiors. They give us 48 hours and then I will accept your involvement, if they don’t, I will file a restraining order and use the fact that we are close to an arrest and you want to sidetrack the investigation for some reason known only to you. Honey you might guess we have a judge here who will issue a short injunction at the very least.”
“I expect if you do that, we will try to get you out of office as incompetent,” she said.
“Then we will just have to go to war,” I said. “So do what you have to do. But if Morris shows up, I might just put her ass in jail.” I slammed the phone down. I expect if West was listening, that had to hurt.
I went to Eddie’s office where he was drinking coffee and reviewing files. “Come with me Eddie,” I said. Once we were in the mens room with the door locked I made sure the one stall was empty and turned on the water in the sink and flushed the toilet.
“Eddie get access to the black stripper named Kara. I have it on good authority one of her boyfriends left the club with Lucy that night. Get a name and we may have our killer. This came from an anonymous tip,” I said.
“Kara got it,” he said. Than added “That SBI bitch Morris hates you. She led the raid on the club. I expect I can sweet talk her. If not I’ll have Osborn try. I have no idea which way Morris rolls,” he said leering at me.
“Who gives a crap which way she rolls. She is a total bitch,” I said. “Mission just gives her assignments up here to piss me off.”
“You are probably right,” he said to my back as I unlocked the door leaving him to turn off the water. Eddie was good about not asking where I got my information, and keeping it quiet that he got it from me. He wanted the conviction as much as the arrest.
“I’ll try, if all else fails,” I said. I went back to my office but I did not forget about it. I signed crap that Mrs. West refused to sign until noon.
“Mrs. West, come on I’ll take you to lunch,” I said.
“Why?” she asked.
“Is there some reason you don’t want to have lunch with me,” I asked.
“I eat healthy Sheriff, and the word is you eat like an animal. Also there is the rumor that you swing both ways. My husband would have a fit. He isn’t very liberal.” She did say the last with a smile.
“Well the invitation is open most anytime. Of course you will have to order from the menu at the pub. It only has a two items on it most days. You can have this or that,” I said.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Now you have taken care of all your grown up duties you can go play now,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. She was proud that she had figured it out.
On my way out I passed Osborn in the hall. “Do you know if Detective Simpson has made arrangements to talk to the dancer from the club?”
“I know he was trying to, but I don’t know if he did,” she replied.
“Okay, I’ll try to find him,” I said as I walked to his office.
Since he wasn’t in the office, I walked to the radio room. Do you know where Simpson is hiding?”
“He is checked out for lunch, but I don’t know where,” the dispatcher said.
“No problem,” I said. I dialed him on the phone. It went to voice mail so I left a message. “Eddie I’m checking in. Where do we stand on the dancer? Call me when you get this.”
I wanted Eddie to see her and then work out something for her, if he needed to get her to talk. If it came to me, I would have to refuse her any deal till the ADA made it. Just in case she came back to try and bite me.
I was juggling a murder investigation and trying to keep my past in the past, so my nerves were a mess. “Hello,” I said into the phone when Eddie called. “Did the SBI cooperate?”
“Actually I was surprised but Morris came right up with the offer to share. We can have access, if she can stand behind the glass to make sure nothing gets hidden,” Eddie said.
“She told Morris that she knew me, in the biblical sense,” I said.
“That would be my guess. If that is true you might as well sit in since Morris is going to know anyway,” Detective Simpson said.
“Okay, when can we have her. We have to pick her up if they aren’t holding her. If she hasn’t skipped, she is probably at her apartment in Abbottsville,” Eddie said. “By the way Morris asked me to go personally, so you won’t lose her.”
“So that’s going to haunt me forever,” I asked.
“Well, you could come up with a better story,” Eddie said.
“Take Osborn with you since you have a sheriff’s car, and she is for sure going to ask to go to the bathroom. Tell Osborn she was in the sandbox. She needs to be careful if she removes the cuffs.” Osborn had only been hitting the bag for a couple of weeks.
While the two of them went to pick up Kara, I went back to my office. “Alright Mrs. West, let’s you and I tackle the crime statistics from my first few months as Sheriff.”
“What brought this on? That go play comment. I knew I shouldn’t have said that,” she said.
“It was a little hard to hear, but you are right. There are things I put off when I want to do something I enjoy. That isn’t very mature of me,” I said.
“Sheriff you work twice as many hours as any sheriff I ever worked with. You take care of all the hand shaking and ego stroking and still find time to go out in the field. You go on a ride along almost every day. Now I was joking about the go play,” she said.
“Thank you Mrs. West, you can consider that you have done your duty at soothing my ego. Now lets get to the crime stats,” I suggested.
Clearance rates are higher than ever, but so are reported crimes,” she said.
“That’s a good sign that we are doing a good job,” I said. “The people trust us.”
“I’m sorry I don’t understand,” she replied.
“Well Mrs. West, if the average citizen thinks there is no chance his burglary will ever be cleared, he will only report it, if he needs a police report for insurance purposes. In that case crime rates appear to be down. But if the public sees us doing our job, they will report crime regardless of the insurance situation,” I said.
“What is crazy is that it makes sense. All the time I worked in this office, I never heard that,” Mrs. West said.
“Well it’s just common sense. There might have been a shortage of it around here for a while,” I said. “It sure seems so.”
“Fuel consumption is up 10%,” she said.
“That’s another good sign. More time on patrol, less time sitting behind a building sleeping,” I replied.
“We had two long time deputies leave in Jan. That was the same month you took office,” she said.
“Yes it was, I wonder if either of them wants to come back. Why don’t you call them the next time we have an opening? I mean they know the lay of the land, and now that they know I’m not making the men wear skirts, they might be interested in coming home,” I said with a smile.
“Well one to them might want to come back, the other I don’t know about,” she said.
“Make sure who ever does the county’s hiring knows I’m quite alright with it. Just in case one of them calls the personnel office,” I said.
“I got it. Sheriff that really is all that I have for you that needs doing. We are all caught up,” she said.
“Then I’m going on a ride along. Call me on the cell, if anything comes up,” I said as I left to go to the dispatcher’s office.
“Well how are you Alice,” I asked the dispatcher. She was one of only four the County had authorized. She was also the 911 operator so handled Sheriff’s calls in addition to volunteer fire fighters and ambulance services.
“I’m fine Sheriff how was the banana pudding?” she asked.
“I took it over to the pub, so The Brit could hold a gun on me to keep me from eating it all. That stuff is almost as bad as crack cocaine,” I said laughing.
“That’s what my husband said. He told me to get it the hell out of the house,” she said with a laugh.
“If you are that good a cook, your family should weigh over 200 lbs each,” I said matching her laugh. “So who haven’t I ridden with on this shift.”
“You have been with them all, but Osborn is always asking for you to ride,” Alice said with a knowing look.
“She is off with Eddie Simpson. How about any of the deputies from when I was here the first time?” I asked. “If I have made the rounds let’s get Jake Learner in, and I’ll ride with him.”
“He is on day shift they will be off in less than an hour,” Alice said.
Just then the radio sprang to life. “Dispatch this is Deputies Osborn and Simpson show us 10-7 at the station, with a subject for questioning. Please advise the Sheriff.”
“10-4,” Alice answered. “Did you hear that?” she asked me.
“They got that done a lot faster than I thought,” I said.
When I went into the interrogation room in the basement that also served as a conference room, I said, “That was fast. Did y’all drive too fast?”
“No we called ahead and Kara here was more than willing to be ready for the trip. She seems to think you can make this all go away,” Eddie said.
“Well, she is may be right. If she cooperated and hasn’t done anything too bad, we might can make it go away. But if she holds out on us, or she played some part in what happened to that girl, I am going to turn the key on the jail cell myself,” I said looking at her. Your friendship with me is going to work against you Kara. I have to prove I don’t play favorites, so if you think you have something on me, bring it on girl.”
Edited by Walt