We are blessed beyond imagination to be living in a place where crime is very low and our neighbors are generally friendly and willing to look after each other. I would be surprised to hear a single individual declare that they don’t feel it is safe to go out for a walk or be out in public. While there is some property crime, shoplifting and other petty issues like graffiti that does take place, I don’t believe that it changes our quality of life here in Southern Idaho.
I think if you were to ask area merchants what they worry about I am convinced that being robbed, shoplifted or otherwise swindled out of their property would be very low on their list. Our big retailers do have some shoplifting that takes place but our law enforcement is willing to go deal with it. In many of our nation’s cities the police are adamant that they will not intervene in a shoplifting event. The result for those cities is unchecked lawlessness and property loss on a grand scale.
Years ago when my brother Alan and I were caught shoplifting water balloons at Logan’s Low Cost Drug store we spent the afternoon sitting in the police station, waiting for our father to close his television repair business and come pick us up. I think we were seven and eight years of age at the time but the event was treated as something serious rather than something that we got away with by being kicked out of the store. Why would I ever want to shoplift again knowing that the event would be treated as something serious, not as an event so unimportant that it gave me confidence to do it again and again.
In cities where the rioters are building walls in downtown shopping districts, daring the police to come in and do something about it, city government and law enforcement are content to let things go rather than to enforce the rule of law. It is so against what a civilized society should ever allow to happen that It is almost unbelievable – except that we see it in the news virtually every night.
All of the law enforcement agencies in our Mini-Cassia community know that they are wanted and respected, making their jobs easier to accomplish, not that what they do is in any way easy. I recall a situation with the News Journal newspaper that we once published. We were having newspapers stolen out of one of the coin racks in front of the post office, amounting to hundreds of dollars of loss every year. I expressed my frustration to Jay Heward, who at the time was a detective if I remember correctly.
With a few questions about our operations Detective Heward suggested that he stake out the rack on the morning that we replenished the papers. We met early in the morning, counted out the papers as well as the amount of money in the rack and while I went about my business of filling racks elsewhere in town, he kept an eye on the rack.
At about 7:00 a.m. I drove past the post office and saw Detective Heward standing out on the curb. I stopped, thinking we had missed our chance to catch our thief only to find out that not only had we caught the thief, he had been taken to the jail for booking and his vehicle had been towed.
I mention that experience for a few reasons. I was so impressed that Detective Heward would address my problem personally rather than pass it off on one of the patrol deputies who would have had a much more difficult time concealing his patrol car as he waited for our guilty party. Heward’s truck was unmarked, allowing him to sit closely by and observe our newspaper thief in action.
Sometimes the best enforcement of the law comes with a simple gesture. While riding my motorcycle on the Declo highway one summer afternoon I passed a Cassia County Sheriff driving the opposite direction who was simply pointing his finger down, a sign I realized after glancing down at my speedometer that I needed to slow down. His courteous gesture went far further in helping me stay under the speed limit than ten speeding tickets would have done.
There are times when our interactions with a law enforcement officer isn’t something we wanted. This is usually when we have done something we didn’t want to get caught doing like speeding or coasting a stop sign.
A short while back my wife had the pleasure of being pulled over due to a headlight in her car being out. The officer was from the ISP and he was courteous and professional, suggesting that she get it fixed soon. Ten blocks later, still driving south on Overland Ave, a Cassia County Sheriff pulled her over to let her know she had a headlight out. Feeling like this wasn’t her day, she informed the officer that she had just been pulled over five minutes earlier. He was almost apologetic and got her back on her way without any further delay.
We are indeed lucky to live in a community where we don’t have to worry about what might happen when we are privileged to have a one-on-one interaction with our law enforcement. Please join me in supporting the work they do and the professionalism they demonstrate.