Good Cop!

Actual community policing solves murders:

Residents of some northern Athens-Clarke County neighborhoods were very much on edge a few months ago.

They already were experiencing an increase in residential burglaries in the area when an elderly man was shot and killed the night of Nov. 27 by someone who broke into his home on Jefferson River Road.

More than a week passed and Athens-Clarke police had not identified any suspects in the home-invasion murder of 76-year-old Edward Davidson.

Little did they know, a vital clue had already been collected just one day after the murder: a single fingerprint found by a patrol officer at the scene of a burglary attempt not far from Davidson’s home.

What the patrol officer, Scott Blair, did was remarkable, if only for its rarity: he started asking the people he’d stop for traffic offenses if they’d seen anything strange.

During that Nov. 27 midnight shift, the officer stopped a motorist for a minor violation for which he issued a warning. When Blair talked to the woman about burglaries in the area, she mentioned that her home had recently suffered some minor damage that she never reported to police.

Blair went back to her house with her and took the fingerprint: this led to the arrest of a juvenile, who dimed his two adult accomplices. Which is good: murderers off streets. But think how far above and beyond the usual cop level of people skills this goes. Blair managed to get this woman to reveal something she’d filed as irrelevant AFTER he gave her a ticket for whatever dumb traffic offense. Think about the last time you got nailed for a California stop: would you have wanted to chat with the cop?

So, credit where credit’s due: Officer Blair was given the title Officer of the Year for actually knowing how to do his job. Think about what that says about the rest of the department. Let us all send mental donuts, or rather mental healthy snacks, to someone who’s actually competent.

Now let’s imagine it as a work of fiction. Obviously, Officer Blair is either too good to be true and has framed the juvenile, some kid who threatened to turn Blair in for buying weed from him or whatever, or he’s just who he appears to be and it’s the motorist who is for whatever nefarious reason framing the kid. Maybe she wanted the old guy dead for some completely unrelated reason. The drama in the story then comes from Blair figuring out that he’s been duped and now has to make the hard decision to put his Officer of the Year award into question.

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