How much wood would an aggressive woodchuck chuck?

No matter what I write, it’s never going to be as widely read as the police blotter.

I learned that early on in my career.

I’m at peace with it.

I’ve just accepted the fact that I could spend hours crafting a heart-wrenching story about the plight of a disabled transgendered albino war veteran whose parents are homeless illegal immigrants and it would still take a backseat to the fact that some dude was arrested for public urination at the Bell Tower Festival beverage garden.

It is what it is.

As the guy who edits the paper’s police report, I’ll freely admit that it makes for good reading.

For my first couple of months as editor, I fretted about what to leave in the blotter and what to take out.

At the daily paper in Ohio that served as my training ground for 14 years, we had guidelines about what made the blotter.

I wondered if I should develop guidelines here, too.

So I did — my No. 1 rule is now, “If it makes me laugh, it goes in.”

Let’s be honest here.

By reading the police report, we’re able to glean a little insight into troubled neighborhoods and what area to avoid if you don’t want a speeding ticket — that would be the 700 block of North Elm Street — but by and large it’s just good old fashioned voyeurism.

“Can you believe they called the cops for THAT?!”

My hat is off to our police department.

We taxpayers are really getting our money’s worth from Chief Dave Morlan and his officers.

What other police department will help you look for a lost cellphone or misplaced keys? Or come over at 2 in the morning to get rid of a bat in your house?

On that note, the sheer number of calls this summer pertaining to various species of wildlife begs the question — are we misusing our police force?

We have several residents who seem to trap anything and everything that waddles into their yards.

Cats.

Opossums.

Raccoons.

At this rate, I’m half-expecting Irene Mischke to trap a small child in one of her live traps.

If you’ve trapped it, the police will come get it.

Roger Chesler has trapped so many raccoons the last few weeks that I’m starting to picture officers releasing the same one right back into the woods to be captured over and over again.

Chief Morlan tells me they actually try to take wild animals at least five miles out of town before turning them loose.

He said there’s been no discussion about not helping people who catch critters using private traps.

“We just deal with it in strides,” Morlan said. “I know the guys don’t like it, be we just deal with it.”

“It’s a service we provide,” he added.

He also noted that as the only city department that functions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the police department is best suited to take on a variety of tasks.

This is going to sound totally Republican of me, but some duties are maybe best left to private business.

According to the most recent data from Iowa Workforce Development, there are 5,040 Greene County residents in the labor force and 4,820 of them have jobs.

That leaves 220 people in need of a steady gig.

If I was one of them — and if I wasn’t also deathly afraid of mammals belonging to the order Rodentia — it’s plain to see that Jefferson is in need of an exterminator.

Where are all my entrepreneurs at?

Are we going to stand for socialist animal control?!

“Maybe some day, we’ll have an animal control officer to take care of that for us,” Morlan said.

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve got a bit of a stray dog problem around here, too.

But, on the other hand, it’s sometimes a great relief knowing that the person I’m calling to, say, come remove a squirrel from my chimney is also packing heat.

In this week’s police blotter, a caller at 1:29 p.m. Sunday reported an “aggressive woodchuck” in the 900 block of North Grimmell Road.

“The guy said it was mad,” Morlan said.

On arrival, it actually went after officers, Morlan said.

The angry woodchuck had to be shot on sight.

So maybe the question isn’t, “Are we misusing our police force?”

Maybe it’s, “Are we paying them enough?”

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161