Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Police blotter.


You may have noticed that I haven't been posting as many snippets from the police blotter as usual during the last few months.  Well, this one I can blame on something other than blog neglect and my own general laziness; the reason I haven't been posting police blotters like I used to is that the local newspaper stopped printing them.  I don't know why -- I don't know if it was a staffing issue, or if they don't have the space to run them in the paper, or what -- but I miss them dearly and I know other readers do, too.  (There've been a handful of letters to the editor complaining about it, though I haven't taken the time to write one myself since, well, I'm not sure they even have an editor on-staff right now since they've had so much turnover lately.)  They'd been running excerpts from the police blotter for as long as I can remember, so I'm not sure what prompted them to stop all of a sudden.

For a little while, I thought I'd be able to bridge the gap myself -- earlier this year, the Ashland Police Department started posting pdfs of their blotters on their website.  It required a little more legwork on my part, but I kind of got a kick out of scrolling through all the reports, finding the funny stuff.  But then, alas, they quit posting theirs at the end of May.  Sad face.

Admittedly, I primarily find all of this a bummer because of the sheer comedic mileage I've gotten out of them over the years.  I can remember cutting them out from the newspaper when I was in high school, and during summers when I was home from college, mailing them to my roommates down in the Twin Cities...one of my all-time favorites was "loud, ugly Harley reported driving eastbound on Highway 2."  (I mean, "ugly" -- that's subjective.)  Another:  "report of kittens in mailbox."  There was even one about a pie being stolen from a windowsill once -- seriously.  The goofier entries in the blotter encapsulated what makes living in a small town so fun and ridiculous; if you went in the ditch or hit a deer, you'd wait and see if your call made the blotter in the paper.

But the blotters were a public service, too.  While I only posted the funny stuff here, there were a lot of serious things in there, too, like there are in any community.  Domestic violence calls...theft...burglary...car accidents, fires, fraud.  When a rash of paintball vandalism would pop up on some random avenue in the east end, people could see it in the blotter and know to pay attention where they parked until the hoodlums were caught.  Seeing a string of burglaries and reading about it in there made people pay attention to their houses & their neighbors', too.  You'd show up to find the funny stuff, and you'd stay to keep a pulse on the more serious stuff.  (Or I did, anyway.)

I don't know if they're ever planning on bringing the blotters back -- I suspect it's a staffing issue, but who knows.  In the meantime, I'm hoarding the last few entries I had left in my stash...but tonight, for old time's sake, here's one to savor.


Sunday, 4:38 P.M.:  Caller wants an officer to call his girlfriend's mother and tell her to stop texting and calling him a "piece of shit."



P.S.  Maybe if lots of people write and ask for the blotters to come back, it'll help?

1 comment:

Nan said...

I'm surprised there's no one left at the newspaper who wants to make the trek to the cop shop. Long, long ago I worked at the Ironwood Daily Globe; the amble up the street to read the blotter was my favorite part of the day. There was always some delightful piece of weirdness that made it worth the walk.